From presentation to paper: Gender disparities in oncological research

Willemieke P. M. Dijksterhuis, Charlotte I. Stroes, Wan-Ling Tan, Suthinee Ithimakin, Antonio Calles, Martijn G. H. van Oijen, Rob H. A. Verhoeven, Jorge Barriuso, Sjoukje F. Oosting, Daniela Kolarevic Ivankovic, Andrew J. S. Furness, Ivana Bozovic-Spasojevic, Carlos Gomez-Roca, Hanneke W. M. van Laarhoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Gender disparities in scientific publications have been identified in oncological research. Oral research presentations at major conferences enhance visibility of presenters. The share of women presenting at such podia is unknown. We aim to identify gender-based differences in contributions to presentations at two major oncological conferences. Abstracts presented at plenary sessions of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meetings and European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congresses were collected. Trend analyses were used to analyze female contribution over time. The association between presenter's sex, study outcome (positive/negative) and journals' impact factors (IFs) of subsequently published papers was assessed using Chi-square and Mann–Whitney U tests. Of 166 consecutive abstracts presented at ASCO in 2011–2018 (n = 34) and ESMO in 2008–2018 (n = 132), 21% had female presenters, all originating from Northern America (n = 17) or Europe (n = 18). The distribution of presenter's sex was similar over time (p = 0.70). Of 2,425 contributing authors to these presented abstracts, 28% were women. The proportion of female abstract authors increased over time (p < 0.05) and was higher in abstracts with female (34%) compared to male presenters (26%; p < 0.01). Presenter's sex was not associated with study outcome (p = 0.82). Median journals' IFs were lower in papers with a female first author (p < 0.05). In conclusion, there is a clear gender disparity in research presentations at two major oncological conferences, with 28% of authors and 21% of presenters of these studies being female. Lack of visibility of female presenters could impair acknowledgement for their research, opportunities in their academic career and even hamper heterogeneity in research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3011-3021
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Congresses as topic
  • medical oncology
  • research
  • sex

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