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We were pleased to read the correspondence by Conigliaro et al to our letter about the gender gap in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual conference.1 2
The authors provide data on the gender gap in the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) meetings in 2018 and in 2019. Overall, the authors found that female speakers delivered 46% of presentations in 2018, and 44% in 2019—numbers that were similar to our findings for ACR meetings. The authors were able to break down the proportion of female speakers by invited speakers, moderators and selected abstracts. They found that these percentages were close to 50% for selected abstracts and moderators in 2019, a finding which is reassuring.
Interestingly, the lowest proportion of female speakers was recorded in the general scientific session during both years. We found there was a higher proportion of female speakers in the clinical than in the basic science presentations at ACR. If the data were available, it would be additionally informative to see what percentage of submitted abstracts by gender were selected for presentation. This would help identify whether the gender gap is driven by number of submissions vs the selection process; this knowledge could eventually help reduce the gap further.
Academic publications are used to disseminate scientific knowledge and are a way to measure research productivity. Publications can influence career prospects and visibility for authors. It would be also interesting to look at a country-stratified analysis of speaker gender using the EULAR data. Holman et al noted that countries, like Japan, Germany and Switzerland, which have higher per capita incomes, have fewer women authors representing the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine workforce.3
In summary, these data presented by Conigliaro et al are similar to ours and further support that a gender gap does exist among speakers during annual rheumatology meetings. Even though it has improved over the years, we must remain aware of its presence and continue to work towards equal representations. We are, thus, appreciative of the efforts of the EULAR Task Force on Gender Equity in Academic Rheumatology and look forward to their future outputs.4
Patient consent for publication
Handling editor Josef S Smolen
Contributors KM and JL contributed equally to this work.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.