Project details


Advancing women to academic leadership positions in medicine

Leadership general medicine underrepresentation women

dr. M.J.E. Mourits
Dr. T.C. Kwee
Dr. D. Yakar

Type of project:
MD/PhD programme

Nature of the research:
Retrospective and prospective cross-sectional and cohort studies

Fields of study:
general internal medicine surgery gynaecology

Background / introduction
The majority of medicine students in the Netherlands are currently female [1]. However, women are still severely underrepresented when it comes to promotions to academic leadership positions (e.g. professorship, departmental head, and various board positions) [1-3]. This is undesirable for several reasons, amongst others because (gender) diversity improves team performance [2,3]. Unfortunately, the Netherlands is not an exception to this phenomenon of female underrepresentation in medical leadership positions, and this also applies to the UMCG [4,5]. Causes of this so called ‘gender gap’ are multifactorial, including a lack of role models and mentors, unconscious biases, societal barriers and generational changes [1-4,5]. To effectively break the status quo, more research is needed to identify specific obstacles for talented women, apply targeted interventions to remove key obstacles, and monitor the impact of these interventions.
Research question / problem definition
Which factors prevent talented women from advancing on the academic ladder in medicine, which factors can be addressed with interventions, and are these interventions effective?
This project involves multiple studies centered on the same topic as described above, which can be used for a PhD thesis.

Who could apply? We are looking for an ambitious candidate who is interested in this topic and who will) start with an initial study on diversity aspects of academic leadership promotions in the UMCG that can be chapter 1 of the PhD thesis (period of 3 to 6 months – time frame can be discussed) and b) when agreed upon from both sides, subsequently pursue with an MD/PhD application on the same topic. Proficiency in Dutch and English is required. A multidisciplinary team from the departments of gynecology and radiology, and the social sciences will supervise the research project. During the research internship (part a), you will not only learn how to setup and perform a study, but you will also obtain a unique look behind the scenes into the academic appointment and promotions framework.
2. Boylan J, Dacre J, Gordon H. Addressing women's under-representation in medical leadership. Lancet 2019;393:e14.
3. Kubik-Huch RA, Vilgrain V, Krestin GP, Reiser MF, Attenberger UI, Muellner AU, Hess CP, Hricak H. Women in radiology: gender diversity is not a metric-it is a tool for excellence. Eur Radiol 2020;3:1644-1652.
4. pdf.
5. Wolters FJ. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2020;164:D5300.
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