The progression of diversity: Black women in neurosurgery

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While diversity in organized medicine has undoubtedly improved, a disparity remains in the racial and gender makeup of its constituents. This disparity is not distributed equally among all specialties of practice. The surgical subspecialties exemplify this phenomenon by having large gaps between the number of women and racial/ethnic minorities compared to their majority counterparts. Pertaining to neurosurgery in the US, this gap is substantial, with women reaching minority status only within the last 2 years. Among international women in neurosurgery, Black women are even further underrepresented despite efforts in recent years to close the gender gap. The reason for this disparity is likely multifactorial, as Black women demonstrate a unique intersectionality as a minority in regard to both race and gender. In this study, the authors provide historical context for the current state of diversity in neurosurgery and the global strides made by Black women within the field. The authors report recurrent themes in the experiences of Black female neurosurgery attendings and residents as revealed through personal interviews. Furthermore, they examine factors that contribute to the disproportionate representation of Black women in neurosurgery.

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