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    Women In STEM: WIRED – “And nevertheless, she persisted”

    Women in STEM GirlSpring

    If you are interested in Radiology, STEM, the medical field, or more about how women are persisting through challenges in career fields, follow through the rest of this article to learn more. This article was written by three amazing women!

    Power, Grace, and Strength

    For these three women studying at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the words power, grace, and strength embody their missions. Laura Minton, Ishika Patel, and Renu Pandit are students and young women who have a career ahead of them full of helping, inspiring, and changing the world. Step by step, their mission is to make a mark in the medical field. Women are resilient, capable, and deserving of representation and just treatment in this field. Although many of the facts below are disheartening, women persist. “And nevertheless, she persisted.” — the perfect quote to prove the withstanding strength of women. Past the bias, the missing representation, and wage gaps, these students make the point to continue their education not only for themselves, but for other people.

    WIRED

    Laura Minton is the founder of WIRED. They are a group of women for women, just like GirlSpring! WIRED stands for ‘Women in Radiology Education’ but has a mission for much more than just women in radiology. The mission and core basis of WIRED is raising awareness among young people about the trials that women face in the medical field. By raising awareness, WIRED brings attention to real issues and aims to inspire more women to pursue their medical field goals.

    As a high school senior myself, exploring different interests and careers sparks a flame in my own determination. Hearing from strong women who have walked down the path I will begin soon inspires me to work hard and continue stepping into another journey. 

    Strong women come from the roots of strong women. 

    Thank you so much to Laura Minton, Ishika Patel, and Renu Pandit for gathering this information and pursuing inspiration for all women. You are amazing, intelligent, and taking a step forward for so many. 

    Azalea McRae, GirlSpring, SpringBoarder 

     

    Gender Gap: Women in STEM

    Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields have recently gained significant attention; however, there remain barriers to equality. While more women are graduating with STEM degrees, the majority of the STEM workforce and leaders (CEOs, board members, etc.) consist of men, and only 1 in 4 positions in STEM professions is held by a woman. (1) Furthermore, women earn about $20,000 less per year than men in STEM fields. (2)  While most women face bias, women of color often unjustly experience additional challenges. Recent movements such as He for She and Women’s March have ignited interest in pushing towards gender equality in STEM, but women still have a long way to go before complete equality is present.

    Gender Gap: Women in Radiology

    More females are enrolling in and graduating from universities than ever before. In fact, the rate of women attending college has increased 35% from the 1960s. (3) Studies have shown that women are dominating schools and fields of studies traditionally occupied by men. In 2019, the number of women attending medical school increased to 50.5%, and “for the first time ever, the majority of medical students were women.” (4)

    Women are still underrepresented in many fields of medicine, however, and radiology is not exempt. Despite men and women graduating from medical school at near equivalent rates, only about a quarter of radiologists in the US are women. (5) This percentage decreases further when examining the number of practicing female radiologists who have completed their training. It has been hypothesized that this disparity may be due to a lack of exposure to role models. It is difficult to imagine yourself in a position if you have never seen a person like yourself represented.

    WIRED: Women in Radiology Education

    A passionate group of medical students and residents created an interest group at UAB School of Medicine called Women in Radiology Education (WIRED) with the goal of empowering, supporting, and inspiring women interested in radiology. We aim to introduce women to the field of radiology earlier in academia to cultivate early exposure and interest. We advocate for women’s exposure to radiology, provide space for role model mentors, and create an inviting space for women in the future of radiology. We believe addressing the disproportional gender gap is critical to advancing patient care.

    I think it can be tempting to disregard the unpleasant fact that there is a lot of work to be done concerning inequalities in medicine. I don’t think the circumstance will always be like it is now; I have hope that we can close the gap, person by person, as we bridge generations of strong women and intersect our paths in STEM.

    Value of Mentorship

    Mentorship is a beautiful way to learn from people who know what it’s like to be in your shoes, as well as to give back and share the wisdom that you’ve learned along the way. If you could go back in time and tell yourself something that you wish you had known as a 10-year-old, 18, 25, and beyond, what would you say? Mentoring someone else gives you the opportunity to share what you wish you’d known. In the wise words of my mentor, Dr. Cathy Chen MD, “It is important to use one hand to pull yourself up, while always reaching a hand back to help another woman up.”

    One last thing—we couldn’t have WIRED without our UAB Radiology Resident Advisors: Cathy Chen MD, Adrian Murray MD, and Mary Beth Oglesby MD. They are perfect examples of mentors.

    Podcast

    To hear more wisdom from these incredible women and other women in radiology and in medicine, we invite you to check out our podcast: WIRED. The WIRED podcast was created with our group’s mission in mind: empowering, supporting, and inspiring women. We intend to interview women in all stages of the path to a career in radiology—young ladies interested in STEM, medical students, residents, academic attendings, and community practitioners—and share their insight and wisdom with our listeners in hopes of ultimately reducing the overall disparity regarding women in radiology. Some stories we are excited to share soon are of practicing radiologists Dr. Kristen Porter MD/Ph.D., Dr. Amy Patel MD, and Dr. Lucy Spalluto MD/MPH, and of our resident mentors Dr. Cathy Chen MD, Dr. Mary Beth Oglesby MD, and Dr. Adrian Murray MD.

    The podcast will be streaming on Spotify and Apple Music soon. Our WIRED team is brainstorming ideas to volunteer and speak with high school and college students. Education and exposure open the door to opportunity, and it’s an honor and a privilege to be in a position to help open that door.

    If any of the Girlspring readers are interested in radiology and/or medicine, we encourage you to reach out to us! We are on Instagram as @wired.uab and we would love to hear from you!

     

    Interviewees:

     

    Laura Minton

    WIRED Founder/Co-President, First-year medical student

    M.D. Candidate, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

     

     

     

     

     

    Renu Pandit

    WIRED Co-President, Third-year medical student

    M.D. Candidate, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

     

     

     

     

     

    Ishika Patel

    WIRED Ambassador, Undergraduate student, the University of

    Alabama at Birmingham

     

     

     

     

     

    Works Cited

    [1] Martinez, A., Christnacht C. (2021). Women making gains in stem occupations but still underrepresented, U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/01/women-making-gains-in-stem-occupations-but-still-underrepresented.html

    [2] Charlesworth T., Banaji M. (2019). Gender in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: Issues, Causes, Solutions. J Neurosci. 2019;39(37):7228-7243. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0475-18.2019

    [3] College enrollment Statistics. (2021). Total + by demographic. Retrieved from https://educationdata.org/college-enrollment-statistics#by-sex-or-gender

    [4] Boyle, P. (2019, December 09). More women than men are enrolled in medical school. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/more-women-men-are-enrolled-medical-school

    [5] Rosenkrantz, A. B., Kotsenas, A. L., & Duszak, R. (2018). Geographic Variation in Gender Disparities in the US Radiologist Workforce. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 15(8), 1073-1079. doi:10.1016/j.jacr.2018.04.014


    Read more from GirlSpring about Women in Stem.