Reader Response: Leadership, Recognition Awards, and Publication by Men and Women in the American Academy of Neurology

I read the article by Miyasaki et al.1 with interest. Keys to academic success include publications, grants, and professional society leadership positions—keys that have been traditionally controlled by White men. This has had the predictable effects of primarily men advancing in academic careers. The American Academy of Neurology has taken conscious steps toward reducing sex disparities. The data presented by Miyasaki et al.1 indicate relative improvements in the metrics where the AAN has most influence: bestowing awards, serving on committees, and contributing the first and last authorship in Neurology®. Proportionally, these metrics were similar among men and women AAN members by 2017. However, despite equal numbers of women and men completing neurology residencies, the number of AAN members remains mostly men. The discrepancy is greatest when comparing the number of female neurologists, or those with a membership designation of senior, researcher, or honorary (n = 4,992), with males (n = 10,877). When students, interns, junior, and physician affiliates are added, this difference is smaller. This implies that lower-level positions are overrepresented among female AAN members, and female neurologists see less value in AAN membership. Retrofitting a system designed for White men to accommodate the rest of us is a messy process. There is much work to be done. I admire the AAN for trying.

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