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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 808-814

What it is to be a woman neurosurgeon in India: A survey

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Apollo KH Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Neurosurgery, Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dhivya Palanisamy
Apollo KH Hospital, Vellore - 632 055, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajns.AJNS_142_19

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Background: Around the world, measures are being undertaken to increase the number of women in the field of neurosurgery, by improving their working conditions and developing a supportive system. This survey was conducted to assess the status of women neurosurgeons in India. Aims and Objectives: To assess the barriers, supportive system and professional/personal satisfaction of Indian women neurosurgeons. Materials and Methods: A survey questionnaire containing 19 questions was designed. The number of women neurosurgeons in India was found to be 73 as of September 2017. An anonymous Google survey was undertaken by sending the survey questionnaire through email to 69 female neurosurgeons in the month of September 2017, and the email ids of 4 neurosurgeons were not available. 55 out of 69 replied to the survey questionnaire (79.7%) in a time period of 4 weeks. Results were collected and analyzed. Results: Our survey showed that 34.54% of Indian women neurosurgeons were being residents and 65.45% being younger than 40 years of age. Majority of them (92.72%) joined neurosurgery with passion and only 30.9% had a medical professional who kindled the interest in neurosurgery. 72.68% were discouraged before joining into neurosurgical residency. 74.4% reported to receive good to excellent support from the parent department. Only 40% had another female colleague in the department and they received good to excellent support from the female colleagues. Though 74.5% received good support from male colleagues the excellent support remained low. 40% reported to face discrimination by gender. 74.5% are married and 96.4% reported to receive good to excellent support from the family members. 80% face difficulty in balancing career and personal life. 70.9% have satisfaction in professional life and 69% lead a satisfactory personal life. 67.3% of female neurosurgeons felt that formation of an exclusive women neurosurgeons' forum would benefit them. Conclusion: In India there is a positive trend in female physicians taking up neurosurgery. The present residency program in our country is supportive to women in majority. However active measures should be taken to encourage female physicians to take up neurosurgery, reduce the existing gender discrimination and improve the supportive system especially during pregnancy and child rearing.

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