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Vol. 62. Issue 8.
Pages 945-947 (August 2009)
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Vol. 62. Issue 8.
Pages 945-947 (August 2009)
DOI: 10.1016/S1885-5857(09)72664-7
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Women in Spanish Cardiological Research
Mujeres en la investigación cardiológica española
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Gregorio González-Alcaidea, Adolfo Alonso-Arroyob, Juan C. Valderrama-Zuriána, Rafael Aleixandre-Benaventa
a Unidad de Información e Investigación Social y Sanitaria (UISYS), Universitat de València-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Valencia, Spain.
b Departamento de Historia de la Ciencia y Documentación, Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain.
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To the Editor:

Understanding the role of females in the various scientific fields is of interest, and many studies have signalled poor representation in the field of cardiology.1,2

With the aim of analysing women's participation in cardiology research in Spain, we analysed studies published in Revista Española de Cardiología between 2002 and 2006 broken down by sex. Of the 2828 authors contributing to the publication, 2065 (73.02%) were men and 763 (26.98%) were women. We observed a decrease in the percentage of women as the productivity threshold increased (Figure 1), which dropped from 29.82% among authors who published a single study to 4.08% of the "prolific authors" (>9 studies). Statistical analysis revealed the existence of significant differences (P<.05) in the number of published works, with a mean (standard deviation) of 2.13 (2.66) studies per male author and 1.54 (1.29) studies per female author.

Figure 1. Distribution of productivity by percentage of males and females (2002-2008) in the Revista Española de Cardiología (percentage of authors).

To offer an explanation for this low representation, we can point to a series of factors that make the specialty of cardiology less attractive to women,1,2 and to negative psychological and sociological attitudes that affect men and women alike.3

However, we should stress some positive aspects, such as the increase in the percentage of female authors during the analysis period, which rose from 21.35% (2002) to 26.64% (2006). The same tendency was also observed in the percentage of signing researchers, which rose from 18.5% (2002) to 23.89% (2006). This tendency is holding today (Figure 2), given that 2008 saw the highest percentage of female authors (27.75%) and signing researchers (25.25%). It is also significant that female participation is similar to and even exceeds that seen in some leading foreign journals and professional societies in this specialty.4 According to data provided by the Spanish Society of Cardiology (2008), 16% of its cardiologists are women (n=339), meaning that the percentage of female authors contributing to the publication is noticeably higher than that of Society members responsible for editing it, and the proportion is higher than that of cardiology societies such as the American College of Cardiology, whose membership in 2005 was 6% female.5 Other aspects which we observed apply in general to nearly all biomedical specialties and geographic regions, although they are more marked for the cardiology specialty.6

Figure 2. Annual distribution of the percentage of female participation (2002-2008) in the Revista Española de Cardiología (percentage of authors and signing researchers). *Journal Issues 1 to 11.

In order to combat low participation from women, working groups from the British Cardiac Society2 and the American College of Cardiology1,7 proposed a series of recommendations, which may also be valid in Spain given the similar tendency that we observe. The aim is to remove any restrictions on a fundamental part of the discipline's knowledge-generating potential and its professional undertaking, which would also have a positive effect on some of the specialty's problems have appeared in Revista Española de Cardiología, such as the imbalance between the supply and demand for cardiologists within an ageing population.8

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Limacher MC, Zaher CA, Walsh MN, Wolf WJ, Douglas PS, Schwartz JB, et al..
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J Am Coll Cardiol, 32 (1998), pp. 827-35
[2]
Timis AD, Baker C, Banerjee S, Calver AL, Dornhorst A, English KM, et al..
Women in UK cardiology: report of a Working Group of the British Cardiac Society..
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Andreotti F, Crea F..
Women in cardiology: a European perspective..
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Morton MJ, Sonnad SS..
Women on professional society and journal editorial boards..
J Natl Med Assoc, 99 (2007), pp. 764-71
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Douglas PS..
Women in Cardiology: leading our present, guiding our future..
J Am Coll Cardiol, 45 (2005), pp. 1543-4
[6]
Jagsi R, Guancial EA, Worobey CC, Henault LE, Chang YC, Starr R, et al..
The "gender gap" in authorship of academic medical literature: a 35 year perspective..
N Engl J Med, 355 (2006), pp. 281-7
[7]
Warnes CA, Fedson SE, Foster E, Jessup M, Limacher MC, O''Donnell JA, et al..
Working Group 2: how to encourage more women to choose a career in cardiology..
J Am Coll Cardiol, 44 (2004), pp. 238-41
[8]
De Teresa-Galván E, Alonso-Pulpón L, Barber P, Boveer-Freire R, Castro-Beiras A, Cruz-Fernández JM, et al..
Desequilibrio entre oferta y necesidades de cardiólogos en España..
Rev Esp Cardiol, 59 (2006), pp. 703-17
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Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition)

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