In her section of the “Gender Issues in the Rheumatology Workforce” session, Leslie J. Crofford, MD, outlined a number of objectives and approaches that rheumatologists and the ACR could focus on to help eliminate gender disparities. These include:
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Explore This IssueOctober 2012
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- Women rheumatologists are underrepresented in academic leadership roles, and the representation has remained unchanged for the past five years.
- Emphasize the values of diversity and leadership to the field of rheumatology.
- Provide education to all levels of the ACR regarding the importance of, and barriers to, diversity among the membership and leadership.
- Organize focus groups with young rheumatologists to encourage their participation in professional activities.
- Advocate equity in salary and compensation.
- Establish a continuing relationship with chairs of departments of internal medicine and pediatrics to promote appointment of women to chiefs of rheumatology.
- Recognize and rectify barriers to professional participation, such as travel requirements, childcare, and multiple personal responsibilities.
- Acknowledge specific issues posed by childbearing, child rearing, and other family roles assumed by those building their careers.
- Increase opportunities for “virtual” participation for those with caregiving responsibilities.
- Ensure that all members have a say about when meetings are held and when to provide childcare.
- Recommend expanding childcare services at workplaces.
- Offer practice support, such as business training, negotiation skills, and efficiency models to increase practice options.
- Teach methods to reduce burnout, such as support through social media outlets like list serves and virtual study and research groups.
- Work to adjust attitudes toward job-sharing and other alternatives to full-time clinical-teaching/research positions.
- Support flexibility in grant funding and tenure track policies.
- Recommend policies that advance clinical/translational scientists and co-investigators/collaborators.
- Promote networking skills for young investigators.
- Develop dialogue with internal medicine, pediatric, and family practice residents to encourage their consideration of a career in rheumatology.