Gender disparities in academic medicine are a long-acknowledged concern, particularly in academic medical conferences. We investigated the prevalence of “manels” (all-men panels) and gender representation among speakers at the ASCO Annual Meeting during 2018-2021.
Using ASCO online programs, faculty information including perceived/self-reported gender, session type, and topic was obtained. Primary outcomes included percentage of manels and women panelists analyzed over time using the Cochran-Armitage test.
During 2018-2021, 81 of 670 sessions (12.1%) were manels. The number of manels decreased from 17.4% in 2018 to 9.9% in 2021(p=0.030), with a corresponding increase in proportion of women panelists from 41.6% to 54.0%(p<0.001). Among session type/topic, the highest proportion of manels was observed for leadership/special sessions (17.1%, p=0.419) and translational/pre-clinical topics (19.6%, p=0.024). Women panelists were underrepresented for the topics of genitourinary cancers (38.6%, p=0.029) and translational/pre-clinical sciences (36.7%, p<0.001). Women were overrepresented in the topic of supportive oncology (70.3%, p<0.001).
The number of women panelists increased during the study period, with a corresponding decrease in the proportion of manels. Certain topics/specialties outperform others with respect to representation of women. ASCO Annual Meeting organizers should continue to strive for diverse gender representation and avoidance of manels whenever possible.