Women Underrepresented in Oncology Leadership Positions, Greek Survey Shows

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A growing number of oncologists in Greece are female, but women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions, according to a survey reported at the ESMO 2014 Congress.

“In Greece, and across Europe, women oncologists still find it hard to access leadership or academic positions,” said Helena Linardou, MD, Associate Director of the First Department of Oncology at the Metropolitan Hospital, Athens, Greece, who presented the survey results.

‘This Needs to Change’

“Women are indeed increasingly choosing oncology specialties in Greece, however, most decision-making posts are still dominated by men across the profession, in private practice, academia, and national health environments. This needs to change,” she said.

The survey of 80 female members of the Hellenic Societies of Medical, Radiation, and Surgical Oncology showed that while women were widely represented in workplaces, team leaders were men in 82% of cases.

“The survey also showed that women oncologists are hugely underrepresented in international scientific meetings and scientific society boards and still have difficulties travelling abroad and accessing education opportunities at the international level,” Dr. Linardou said.

Forum of Women

The study was conducted as part of a European initiative of and for female oncology professionals, known as “Women for Oncology” (W4O),1 launched by the European Society for Medical Oncology in 2013.

The Greek national equivalent, called ‘W4O-Hellas,’ aims to create a support network for female oncologists, but also to provide a platform of direct communication and essential contribution from women doctors to women cancer patients, Dr. Linardou said.

“This forum of women will promote the interaction and exchange of ideas among women oncologists in Greece and across Europe and will embrace and assist them throughout their career in oncology. The novelty, however, is that at the same time, this forum will offer advice, awareness, and support directly from women oncologists to women suffering from cancer and their families in
Greece.” ■

Disclosure: Dr. Linardou reported no potential conflicts of interest.


1. Linardou H, Christopoulou A, Agelaki S, et al: Women 4 Oncology in Greece: Exploring common challenges. Survey of the Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology Among Women Oncology Professionals. ESMO 2014. Abstract 1082O. Presented September 28, 2014.