Trend in Women Representation Among Authors of High Rank Rheumatology Journals Articles, 2002–2019

Yoel Levinsky; Yoav Vardi; Michal Gafner; Neta Cohen; Michael Mimouni; Oded Scheuerman; Daniel E. Furst; Gil Amarilyo

Disclosures

Rheumatology. 2021;60(11):5127-5133. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Objective: The representation of women among authors of peer reviewed scientific papers is gradually increasing. The aims of this study were to examine the trend of the proportion of women among authors in the field of rheumatology during the last two decades.

Methods: Articles published in journals ranked in the top quartile of the field of rheumatology in the years 2002–2019 were analysed. The authorship positions of all authors, country of the article's source and manuscript type were retrieved by specifically designed software.

Results: Overall, 153 856 author names were included in the final analysis. Of them, 55 608 (36.1%) were women. There was a significant rise in the percentage of women authors over time (r = 0.979, P <0.001) from 30.9% in 2002 to 41.2% in 2018, with a slight decline to 39.8% in 2019. There were significantly fewer women in the senior author positions compared with the first author positions (24.3% in senior position vs 40.9% as first author, P <0.001).

Conclusion: The proportion of women among authors of rheumatology articles has increased over the years, both in general and as a first or senior author; however, their proportion is still <50% and there is still a gap between the proportion of women among first authors and the proportion of women among senior authors.

Introduction

The representation of women among the authors of articles in the field of medical research is still lower than that of men. Although various studies have reported an increase in the representation of women in recent decades, in almost no field have women reached the 50% threshold.[1–3] Furthermore, there have been reports of a plateau in the representation of women recently.[4] Moreover, the representation of women as senior authors of articles is often significantly lower than their representation among the first authors, which could indicate a lack of relative advancement of women to senior academic rank over the years.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in women's involvement in various aspects of rheumatology research, and the EULAR Task Force on Gender Equity in Academic Rheumatology (EULAR GEAR) has been established.[5] Encouragingly the representation of women among the speakers and moderators at the ACR meetings in 2017 and 2018 was 42.8% and 47.0% in 2017 and 2018, respectively;[6] this percentage is close to 50% and is higher than the average representation of women in medical conferences in various other fields in North America in 2017 (34.1%).[7] In contrast, when examining the authors of guidelines for rheumatologic diseases, the overall percentage of women stands at 32%, and in almost every disease the representation of women in its guideline is less than that of men.[8]

The aims of this study were to examine the trend of the proportion of women among the authors of articles in the field of rheumatology during the last two decades, both in general and as first author and senior authors. In addition, we aimed to examine the proportion of women in different areas of medical research, such as randomized controlled trials or clinical guidelines and to compare the data among different countries in the world.

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