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Table 1 Some methods to improve gender balance at all levels of critical care medicine

From: Addressing gender imbalance in intensive care

Level Method to improve gender balance
Institutional Establish and enforce codes of conduct in universities, hospitals, critical care societies
Create institutional diversity working groups
Ensure gender balance in committees and as speakers at conferences and scientific events (apply quota if deemed appropriate)
Be transparent when developing pathways to promotion
Education Provide training on gender equity and bias for all ICU professionals, starting at medical school/nursing college
Develop a mentorship program to support and encourage junior female staff
Pay gap Pay men and women equally and publish metrics of salaries and gender diversity in scientific, academic and research activities
Leadership Ensure women are given the same responsibilities in the workplace as their male counterparts: rounds, seminars, family discussions, etc
Promote female intensivists as role models
Actively call out to women to apply for leadership roles, e.g., to become ICU director
Consider, if not already in place, introducing term limits for leadership positions
Biases* and barriers Identify and eliminate implicit and subconscious bias to create a safe working environment
Provide a supportive, flexible environment for optimal balance between professional and family life for both men and women
Provide conditions like maternity leave and in-hospital nursery schools in order to facilitate female intensivists during their early motherhood period
Encourage women to apply for grants and awards (possibly by giving them alternately to a male and female intensivist)
Develop objective criteria for hiring, evaluation, and promotion to limit effects of implicit and subconscious bias
  1. *For the purpose of this manuscript the meaning of bias is the tendency to prefer one gender over another. It is a form of unconscious bias, or implicit bias, which occurs when one individual unconsciously attributes certain attitudes and stereotypes to another person or group of people