Year : 2022 | Volume
: 38 | Issue : 4 | Page : 287-
Department of Urology, Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Department of Urology, Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana
|How to cite this article:|
Sinha S. Editorial Comment.Indian J Urol 2022;38:287-287
|How to cite this URL:|
Sinha S. Editorial Comment. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 30 ];38:287-287
Available from: https://www.indianjurol.com/text.asp?2022/38/4/287/357737
Bias with regard to gender is increasingly recognized as important in the field of urology. There are concerns that gender bias can adversely influence every aspect of professional life for women. This bias might also be perceived to spill over into the personal domain. The study by Pandit et al. used a cross-sectional survey to examine gender bias as perceived by women who have chosen a career in urology and found several areas of concern. About half the respondents reported having experienced gender-based discrimination and about 60% reported dissatisfaction with their career citing, among other issues, lack of a satisfactory mentor.
There is increasing global recognition of the harms associated with gender bias., Many of the challenges are ubiquitous. However, some are unique to the field of medicine, and as noted by the authors, particular to the surgical sciences. This study is important and is perhaps the first attempt to study the subject in the context of Indian urology. However, there are some important issues that need to be considered.
First, the questionnaire does not seem to be designed to specifically examine bias in urology. There is no attempt to differentiate or compare the bias that women might have faced at each step of the training process. Did these doctors face additional bias that they attributed specifically to their decision to pursue a career in urology? Second, it is important to note that the authors studied perceptions. This study does not seek to verify or quantify the existence of adverse gender bias. Third, the analysis of the questionnaire could have been more nuanced. For instance, with regard to finding a life partner, the authors have not attempted to provide age and education-matched contemporary data for Indian women. Was this part of a general global and national trend? Similarly, for the issue of pregnancy-related complications, the authors failed to analyze the plausibility.
There is no denying the fact that there are too few women in top leadership positions both in academia and in private hospitals. However, attributing this solely to gender is perhaps an oversimplification of a complex subject. Promotion in Indian universities is based on seniority and the fulfillment of pre-defined criteria. For drawing valid conclusions, the authors need to compare a “seniority-matched” and an “age-matched” cohort of men. This is important to resolve whether the gender disparity in senior positions is owing to a smaller number of women choosing the field of urology rather than a lesser opportunity for promotion, a critical difference.
From this study, it is clear that the Urological Society of India must set long-term objectives with regard to gender (and other forms of) bias, establish metrics, and start providing annual data. This would heighten awareness and instill a sense of urgency. A similar audit of the annual national congress should also be part of the annual report. Other global urological associations regularly publish gender-stratified data providing a measure of progress. It would also be appropriate to identify other less privileged groups within the association for similar action.
Pandit et al. must be commended for their efforts to highlight a crucial vulnerability in Indian urology.
Financial support and sponsorship: Nil.
Conflicts of interest: There are no conflicts of interest.
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