Female medical physicists: The results of a survey carried out by the International Organization for Medical Physics.
INTRODUCTION: The gender composition of the existing medical physicist (MP) workforce around the world is basically unknown. The International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) performed a survey in order to investigate the number of MPs in countries around the world and the percentage of women MPs compared to total number of MPs. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A simple online questionnaire prepared as a Google Forms survey asking the country, the total number of MPs, the number of female MPs and finally the gender of the person providing the data was sent in mid-March 2013 to six regional member organizations of IOMP, as well as contact points in many member countries. RESULTS: Sixty-six countries responded to the survey by mid-July 2013. Fifty two percent of those who filled the form were females, the rest males. The total number of MPs was 17,024, of which 28% were female (4807). The median values of percentages of females were 21% in the USA, 47% in Europe, 35% in Asia, 33% in Africa and 24% in Latin America. CONCLUSION: This is the first international survey that investigates the number and percentage of female MPs around the world. There are European countries that are far away from the target set by European Commission (40%) whereas in countries in the Middle East and Asia, female MPs actually outnumber males. This study is the first step in a more in-depth study that needs to be taken in near future.
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