Women in Vision
Phoebe Harkin |
In February, we received an email from Rebecca Adams, a reader in Florida. She asked a simple question: “Where are the women?” Her comment was about an article we wrote called ‘Ophthalmologists in the Outside World’, following two male physicians after retirement. She had a point. The lives of female ophthalmologists are not mentioned nearly as much as those of their male counterparts, and sometimes not at all. And that needs to change. There are more women working in ophthalmology than ever before, yet women remain underrepresented in executive-level jobs and faculty positions. According to statistics provided in The Lancet, women in STEM in general have been short-changed in terms of promotions, higher pay and recognition awards (1), despite making up 54.4 percent of the ophthalmic workforce (2). Earlier this year, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) covered the gender pay gap in the optical sector. It found women were paid between 7.9 percent and 22 percent less per hour than men. Even Moorfields Eye Hospital, one of ophthalmology’s leading institutions, had not achieved gender parity – while women represent 51 percent of their highest paid positions, they also represent 71 percent of their lowest paid positions (3). As a publication, we have a responsibility to explore the issues faced by the women in our field, now more than ever. In this feature, we ask 10 ophthalmologists to tell us what is really going on in vision science today. Though they may come from a variety of backgrounds, and might have encountered different hurdles along the way, they all agree on one thing: we need to celebrate how far women have come – but we also need to be honest about how far there is to go.
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