OBJECTIVEWithin neurosurgery, there are fewer women than men at all levels. The authors aimed to assess whether opportunities and representation within neurosurgery are proportional to the existing gender gap.METHODSThe authors analyzed the program of the 2019 joint European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS)/Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS) conference to assess the proportions of presentations given through abstract submission and invitation by men and women. They compared proportions to the previous joint conference in 2007 and to the gender proportions of board-certified European neurosurgeons.RESULTSWomen delivered 75/577 (13%) presentations at the 2019 EANS/SBNS conference: 54/283 (19%) abstract submissions and 21/294 (7%) invited presentations. Fifteen of 152 (10%) session chairs were women. This increased significantly from 4/121 (3%) presentations delivered by women in 2007. When only presentations given by neurosurgeons (residents or consultants) were analyzed, the proportion of female speakers increased from 1/111 (1%) in 2007 to 60/545 (11%) in 2019. Pediatrics was the subspecialty with the highest proportion of invited female speakers. Across subspecialties, there were no differences in gender proportions for presentations from abstract submissions. Across the top 5 participating European countries, the proportion of female invited speakers (8%) and chairs (8%) was half the proportion of female board-certified neurosurgeons (16%).CONCLUSIONSThe proportion of women delivering invited presentations and chairing sessions at a European neurosurgical conference is lower than expected from the available pool of board-certified neurosurgeons. The proportion of women participating is higher through application (abstract submission) than through invitation. The higher proportion of presentations from abstract submission may reflect submission from a pool of trainees with a higher proportion of women. The authors suggest implementation of strategies that increase invited speakers from minority groups and have been shown to be effective in other disciplines, such as improving minority group representation in organizing committees.



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Neurosurgical Focus







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Peninsula Medical School