Parity Commission study published open-access in CMI: Inequality dynamics among CM & ID specialists

ESCMID’s Parity Commission explored the social, cultural, psychological, and organizational factors associated with inequality in the workplace among clinical microbiologists (CM) and infectious disease (ID) specialists at European hospitals. The study shows that discrimination occurs at all institutions in all the countries, though it is generally not explicit and uses disrespectful micro-behaviours that are hard to respond to when they occur. Inequality for example affects loans, distribution of research funds and gender and country representation in boards and conference faculty. Parenthood has a major impact on women’s careers, as women are still mainly responsible for family care. Responses to discrimination range from reactive to surrender strategies. The authors present an effective model for diagnosing discriminatory behaviours in a medical professional setting. The identification of inequality drivers may help national ID/CM societies to further reduce discrimination.

Results of the Parity Survey published in BMJ open

Science without meritocracy. Discrimination among European specialists in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology: a questionnaire survey.
Evelina Tacconelli, Mario Poljak, Marina Cacace, Giovanni Caiati, Nur Benzonana, Elisabeth Nagy and Titia Kortbeek. BMJ Open 2012;2:e001993.

 

In 2011 the Parity Commission from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) launched a questionnaire survey to investigate forms of discrimination with respect to country, gender and ethnicity among medical professionals in hospitals and universities carrying out activities in the clinical microbiology (CM) and infectious diseases (ID) fields. Overall, we included 1274 professionals. The majority of respondents (68%) stated that discrimination is present in medical science. A quarter of them reported personal experience with discrimination, mainly associated with gender and geographic region. Specialists from South-Western Europe experienced events at a much higher rate (37%) than other European regions. The proportion of women among full professor was on average 46% in CM and 26% in ID. Participation in high-level decision-making committees was significantly (>10 percentage points) different by gender and geographic origin. Yearly gross salary among CM/ID professionals was significantly different among European countries and by gender, within the same country. More than one-third of respondents (38%) stated that international societies in CM/ID have an imbalance as for committee member distribution and speakers at international conferences. Results of the article are freely available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533068/. The ESCMID parity committee does believe that the results clearly show the importance of career and research discrimination in European hospitals and universities, mainly related to gender and geographic origin. For this reason the Parity Commission will keep working to implement proactive policies to tackle discrimination and improve representativeness and balance in career among CM/ID professionals in Europe. Members contributions and suggestions are essential and can be sent to parity[at]escmid.org.

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