Has COVID-19 had a greater impact on female than male oncologists? Results of the ESMO Women for Oncology (W4O) Survey.
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Background European Society for Medical Oncology Women for Oncology (ESMO W4O) research has previously shown under-representation of female oncologists in leadership roles. As early reports suggested disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, the ESMO W4O Committee initiated a study on the impact of the pandemic on the lives of female and male oncologists.Methods A questionnaire was sent to ESMO members and put on the ESMO website between 8 June 2020 and 2 July 2020. Questions focused on the working (hospital tasks, laboratory tasks, science) and home (household management, childcare, parent care, personal care) lives of oncologists during and after COVID-19-related lockdowns.Results Of 649 respondents, 541 completed the questionnaire. Of these, 58% reported that COVID-19 had affected their professional career, 83% of whom said this was in a negative way (85% of women versus 76% of men). Approximately 86% reported that COVID-19 had changed their personal life and 82% their family life. Women were again significantly more affected than men: personal life (89% versus 78%; P = 0.001); family life (84% versus 77%; P = 0.037). During lockdowns, women reported increased time spent on hospital and laboratory tasks compared with men (53% versus 46% and 33% versus 26%, respectively) and a significantly higher proportion of women than men spent less time on science (39% versus 25%) and personal care (58% versus 39%). After confinement, this trend remained for science (42% versus 23%) and personal care (55% versus 36%).Conclusions The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the professional and home lives of oncologists, especially women. Reduced research time for female oncologists may have long-lasting career consequences, especially for those at key stages in their career. The gender gap for promotion to leadership positions may widen further as a result of the pandemic.
Communicable Disease Control
Surveys and Questionnaires
ESMO open, 2021, 6 (3), pp. 100131 - ?