Working toward gender diversity and inclusion in medicine: myths and solutions

Elsevier, The Lancet, Volume 393, Issue 10171, 9–15 February 2019, Pages 579-586.
Authors: 
Sonia K Kang and Prof Sarah Kaplan

Women's representation in science and medicine has slowly increased over the past few decades. However, this rise in numbers of women, or gender diversity, has not been matched by a rise in gender inclusion. Despite increasing representation, women still encounter bias and discrimination when compared with men in these fields across a variety of outcomes, including treatment at school and work, hiring, compensation, evaluation, and promotion. Individual and systemic biases create unwelcome environments for women, particularly for those who additionally identify with other traditionally devalued groups (eg, women of colour). This Review draws on several decades of research in the field of management and its cognate disciplines to identify five myths that continue to perpetuate gender bias and five strategies for improving not only the number of women in medicine, but also their lived experiences, capacity to aspire, and opportunity to succeed. We argue for a move away from a singular focus on interventions aimed at targeting individual attitudes and behaviour to more comprehensive interventions that address structural and systemic changes.