Sex, Gender, and Equity in Cardiovascular Medicine, Surgery, and Science in Canada: Challenges, Successes, and Opportunities for Change
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Background: A previous review of sex, gender, and equity within cardiovascular (CV) medicine, surgery, and science in Canada has revealed parity during medical and graduate school training. The purpose of this study was to explore sex and gendered experiences within the Canadian CV landscape, and their impact on career training and progression. Methods: An environmental scan was conducted of the Canadian CV landscape, which included an equity survey using Qualtrics software. Results: The environmental scan revealed that women remain underrepresented within CV training programs as trainees (12%-30%), program directors (33%), in leadership roles at the divisional level (21%), and in other professional or career-related activities (< 30%). Our analysis also showed improvements of career engagement at these levels of women at over time. The thematic analysis of the equity survey responses (n = 71 respondents; 83% female; 9.7% response rate among female Canadian Cardiovascular Society members) identified the following themes reported within the socio-ecological framework: desire to report inequities vs staying the course (individual level); desire for social support and mentorship and challenges of dual responsibilities (interpersonal level); concerns over exclusionary cliques and desire for respect and opportunity (organizational level); and increasing awareness and actions to overcome institutional barriers and accountability (societal level). Conclusions: Although women face challenges and remain underrepresented in CV medicine, surgery, and science, this study highlights potential opportunities for improving access of female medical, surgical, and research trainees and professionals to specialized cardiovascular training, career advancement, leadership, and research.