The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and the British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR) have created a “myth busting” guide to encourage more women to train as interventional radiologists.
While more than half of medical graduates are female, women are under-represented in interventional radiology (IR).
The RCR’s most recent radiologist census revealed that only one in ten consultant interventional radiologists are women (11%), compared with four in 10 consultant diagnostic radiologists (41%). A 2018 survey by the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) found that exposure to radiation, particularly during reproductive years, and the perceived lack of work-life balance has made the subspecialty less attractive to prospective radiology trainees.
To encourage and support more women training in IR, the RCR and BSIR have created “Women in Interventional Radiology: Insights into the Subspecialty”, aimed at interested undergraduates, foundation doctors, and trainee radiologists.
The leaflet features commentary from women in IR working across the UK and at various stages in their careers, addressing common myths and queries about IR training, such as access to flexible training, radiation exposure risks, and working in what has been a traditionally male-dominated medical sub-specialty.
The contributors also give general advice about getting into the subspecialty and the professional satisfaction they have experienced through a career in IR.
Rosemina Ahmad, chair of the BSIR Women and Diversity Committee and one of the guide authors, says: “This is a landmark document in terms of providing a clear focus on and for women in IR.
“The support from the RCR and BSIR has been invaluable in highlighting the importance of recruiting women into IR, so that we have the very best talent and provide doctors that reflect our local communities.
“Role models are incredibly important in shaping career choices and I hope the experiences of women in IR are both motivating and inspiring to readers and highlight that women can and do succeed in this rapidly advancing field of image-guided surgery.”