Gender Interactions on Twitter and Medical Education

How Is Nephrology Doing?

Hector M. Madariaga; Christine B. Sieberg; Xavier Vela; Katherine Kwon; Edgar V. Lerma; Tejas Desai

Disclosures

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2022;37(5):923-927. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Gender inequities negatively impact productivity and career advancement for women. Social media platforms like Twitter can be used to achieve greater parity and address underrepresentation by providing a medium for education, research and mentorship, however, it is unknown how it may contribute to gender inequity. Our aim was to examine gender interactions during a nephrology medical conference.

Introduction

In 2016, women represented nearly 35% of the healthcare workforce;[1] however, while women have accounted for ~50% of medical school matriculants since 2003, they are still underrepresented in academic medicine, with only 39% in full-time faculty positions[2] Additionally, women in medicine may face resource inequities, including subjective allocation of resources such as discretionary funds and start-up packages (e.g. lab space and operating room time) as well as micro-inequities (e.g. not providing childcare or all male speaking panels at academic conferences). These inequities can negatively impact productivity, career advancement and wage equality.[3]

Concurrently and independently, social media use (specifically Twitter) by medical professionals has grown dramatically in the same time period. In particular, Twitter has provided a medium for education, advocacy, research, mentorship and networking.[4] Twitter has changed medical education and provides a way to connect with colleagues, discuss scientific topics, learn remotely and engage in virtual conferences. Most healthcare providers are active on social media and more than half use it for professional purposes.[5]

While gender disparities are evident in many aspects of medicine, it has not been studied as it relates to social media. The aim of this study was to examine two key components of gender parity: representation and inclusion on social media, specifically how Twitter promotes gender parity in nephrology education.

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