AIMS: Very few women become interventional cardiologists, although a substantial proportion of cardiologists and the majority of medical students are women. In accordance with the EAPCI Women Committee mission of attaining gender equality at the professional level, a worldwide survey was recently conducted aiming to understand better the motivations and the barriers for women in selecting interventional cardiology (IC) as a career path.
METHODS AND RESULTS: A total of 1,787 individuals (60.7% women) responded to the survey. Women compared to men were less frequently married (women vs. men, 57.0% vs. 79.8%, p<0.001) and more frequently childless (46.6% vs. 20.5%, p<0.002). The most prevalent reason for choosing IC was passion (83.3% vs. 76.1%, p=0.12), while those for not choosing were, sequentially, lack of opportunity (29.0% vs. 45.7%), radiation concerns (19.9% vs. 11.6%) and preference (16.2% vs. 29.5%), p<0.001. According to 652 men replying to why, in their opinion, women do not choose IC, on-calls and long working hours were the most frequent reasons (35.3%).
CONCLUSIONS: Several barriers preclude women from choosing IC, including lack of opportunity, concerns regarding radiation exposure and the prejudices of their male colleagues. This highlights the need to develop new strategies for future training, education, and support of women in order to choose IC.