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Table of Contents    
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-11

Women authorship in neuroscience publications

Department of Neurosurgery, Fujita Health University, Toyoake, Aichi, Japan

Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2016

Correspondence Address:
Yoko Kato
Department of Neurosurgery, Fujita Health University, Toyoake, Aichi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.173636

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How to cite this article:
Kato Y. Women authorship in neuroscience publications. Neurol India 2016;64:10-1

How to cite this URL:
Kato Y. Women authorship in neuroscience publications. Neurol India [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Jan 21];64:10-1. Available from:

Two decades ago, the number of women who were pursuing a professional career, such as being a physician or a researcher, was very low when compared to the number of men pursuing the same professions. This is one of the important reasons why so far, the proportion of women is still lower than that of men. However, the population of women is rising around the world. More women are also entering the field of medical sciences. At present, the composition of medical students who attend classes comprises 50% women.

Unfortunately, in several countries, the compromised moral principles and the politics of inequality between the opportunities available for women and men, are ongoing problems that continue till date. These problems are further compounded by the inequalities existing in the right to vote; and, in the unequal rights of and opportunities for women in academic positions who are striving to achieve higher salaries from their work.

Men have dominated the field of medical sciences. There are still very few women researchers in medical sciences. This field should be developed by both male and female researchers if it is to be equally fair and relevant. An equality between the two sexes in this profession is also important to be able to offer good medical services equally to female and male patients.[1],[2] The inequalities have also kept women from succeeding, especially in the publication of their papers in their respective specialties.

I work in the field of neurosurgery which is one of the neurosciences. International publication of the results of my research is most important for me and for other authors like me who want to achieve success, especially as the first author of an article that is published in a journal with a high impact factor. We are faced with two obstacles while trying to get our work published. First, the research must be judged to be of high quality; and second, there are very few female neurosurgeons who practice clinical neurosurgery or conduct research work in neurosurgical laboratories. We know that women hesitate to enter the field of neurosurgery for several reasons. There may be an absence of a role model, a lack of inspiration and guidance in the neurosurgical work, the fear of sexual harassment, and concerns over the limited time available to spend with their families. Some people feel that the problem with female surgeons is that they have a labile nature and are unable to sustain the psychological stress for long periods of time, as is essential for the conduction of prolonged neurosurgical operations, due to their lack of self-discipline, their introverted nature and the innumerable social responsibilities that limit the time available for them to spend with their patients.[3],[4] A surgeon generally needs to be aggressive, domineering, authoritarian, and extroverted, which some women are not. In Japan, we find that only 8% of full-time professors in universities are women, while men make up 30% of full-time professors. This illustrates the disproportion of male and female professors in my country.

The society for neuroscience has recently mentioned that nearly half of the society membership is composed of female members. The number of women who received a Ph.D. has risen to around 55%, and several promotional schemes are in place in an attempt to get women into better academic positions.[5] We also expect a proportionately increasing number of lead female authors who will be having their papers published in the high-impact journals of neuroscience.

I agree with the findings of Dr. Dubey et al., who have analyzed the data of female authorship from both developed and developing countries during the last 10 years. The authors have found that the proportion of women who were the first author was less than 30% when compared with 70% for men and the skewed proportion was increasing over time for both first and senior women authors.[6] The data were collected from high-impact factor journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Neuron and compared with journals based in a developing country entitled Neurology India and the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. I believe that in the near future, the proportion of main authors who have the ability to publish in several international journals will change from being predominantly male to being predominantly female.

Finally, we have to introduce four strategies in order to remove the existing obstacles that will allow women doctors to publish their work.

  • Promote awareness that equality of the sexes is required
  • Promote training in neuroscience so that women are in the majority
  • Promote female leadership in academic positions within the organizations
  • The government should undertake the responsibility to promote female candidates based on their skills and knowledge to be assistant professors and professors in the universities
  • Offer accommodation, higher salaries, or other allowances for women who work on academic papers.

“Medicine is the right job for women. It is not only suitable for women but rather, heaven has called women to medicine. Women can provide a kind and healing touch for patients.”

  References Top

Benzil DL, Abosch A, Germano I, Gilmer H, Maraire JN, Muraszko K, et al. WINS White Paper Committee The future of neurosurgery: A white paper on the recruitment and retention of women in neurosurgery. J Neurosurg 2008;109:378-86.  Back to cited text no. 1
Enker IC, Schwarz K, Enker J. The disproportion of female and male surgeons in cardiothoracic surgery. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1999;47:131-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
De Angelis CD. Women in academic medicine: New insights, same sad news. N Engl J Med 2000;342:426-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Spetzler RF. Progress of women in neurosurgery. Asian J Neurosurg 2011;6:6-12.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Mason C. Women in neuroscience: A call to action. In: Mason C, editor. Neuroscience Quarterly. Washington DC: Spring; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 5
Dubey D, Sawhney A, Atluru A, Amritphale A, Dubey A. Trends in authorship based on gender and nationality in published neuroscience literature. Neurol India 2016;64:97-100.  Back to cited text no. 6
  Medknow Journal  

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