Dr. Sandra Lussier – Chair, WIN-ANZICS (womenintensive.org)
Metrics collated by VIC CICM trainees: Dr. Ruvi Vithanage and Dr. Georgie Jenkins
Dr. Sarah Yong for recommending “Inclusion on purpose”
March 8 was International Women’s Day. As chair of WIN-ANZICS, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous women working in ICUs across Australia and New Zealand and share some insights, literature, and the state of play in Intensive Care Medicine in Australia and New Zealand.
So, what sort of representation do we have in 2023 for Intensive Care Medicine?
At the start of 2022 (data not out yet for 2023), the proportion of female representation in ICU is:
9/18 (50%) of CICM Board members
3/19 (16%) of Victorian ICUs have a female director
27% of CICM Supervisors of Training
First Part CICM Examiners: 16%
Second Part CICM Examiners
22% of CICM Fellows
41% of CICM trainees
5/16 (31%) of ANZICS Clinical Trial Group members
4/16 (25%) of the ANZICS Board
To have visibility, it is estimated that a minority group must have at least 30 percent representation – both the College and Society have committed to 50 percent.
What are the top three papers you would recommend if I wanted to know more about changing the landscape to improve gender equity in our ICUs?
Yong S, Moore C and Lussier S. Towards gender equity in intensive care medicine: ten practical strategies for improving diversity. CCR (Critical Care Resuscitation) 2021 Jun 23(2): 132-136
Not just a shameless plug because I co-wrote it, but action really is the key here. We do know there is an issue with gender inequity; our focus is on solutions that can help shift systems and structures toward more a more equitable working environment.
Organisational best practices towards gender equity in science and medicine. Coe IR, Wiley R and Bekker LG. Lancet 2019; 393: 587-593
Worth reading a couple of times, Coe et al seek to outline how organisations can change systems to ensure the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in medicine. Such strategies include changing organisational culture so that it is safe for women to speak up, how inclusive leadership can drive organisational change, the role of academic societies in driving cultural change within science and medicine, what effective allyship looks like and how quotas can drive change and increase the overall quality of work undertaken by a team.
Witteman HO, Hendricks M, Straus S and Tannenbaum C. Are gender gaps due to the evaluations of the applicant or the science? A natural experiment at a national funding agency. Lancet 2019; 393:531-540
Dealing with bias in academia and the myth of meritocracy in one fell swoop, the authors of this study examined 23,918 academic grants for the Canadian Institute of Health Research
In 2014 the Canadian government divided its grant process to either assess the scientist or the science; prior to this, they only assessed the scientist. When reviewers assessed an applicant's proposed science, no statistically significant difference existed between the rate of success for male vs female PIs. When reviewers explicitly assessed the PI, the gap was significantly larger – four whole percentage points lower, in fact. With the average success rate being 15%, that is an enormous number of grants and missed opportunities for women academics in Canada.
What book is the chair of WIN-ANZICS reading now?
I’m glad you asked! I have just finished “Inclusion on purpose” by Ruchika Tulshyan. It is a crucial, uncomfortable, and eye-opening read that outlines the problem of gender inequity, the myth of meritocracy and most importantly, specifically focusses on racism and gender inequity - and how women of colour are particularly vulnerable to exclusionary behaviours in the workplace. Tulshyan ditches the term “underrepresented” and rather, adopts the term “underestimated” to describe women of colour in the workplace. She outlines how we can develop an inclusive leadership mindset, how to seek feedback, how to create a culturally and psychologically safe working environment for BIPOC women, and so much more (the clue is in the title – it must be on purpose, or it will not happen).
It is a tremendous book which has such broad applicability. I have found myself interrogating my own biases repeatedly and often pulling over (audiobook) to furiously take notes. I’ve challenged some ideas that I didn’t see as potentially problematic before, such the idea of seeking a “culture fit” in a workplace and what that means. The strategies put forth by the author can really be used to help us all grow as leaders in so many ways. Even if not in “formal” leadership roles, we are all supervisors and leaders of teams. I strongly encourage all heads of unit to read this book, and action the strategies offered at the end of each chapter.
See you all at the ASM!