To investigate the working conditions of female neurosurgeons in Japan, two surveys were conducted by The Japan Neurosurgical Society: one involving female neurosurgeons themselves and the other involving the chiefs of neurosurgical departments. The responses were received from 224 (43.8%) female neurosurgeons and 496 (61.2%) departmental chiefs. About half (50.2%) of the female neurosurgeons were married and 39.2% had children (average number of children, 1.2. Their work was full-time in 80.6% of cases; on average, they worked 51.9 h per week, had night duty 2.8 times per month, and had 5.7 days off per month. Many of them stated that they were satisfied with their job status, but about half of them reported difficulty in maintaining a correct work–life balance. Among the institutions surveyed, 29% had female neurosurgeons. The survey of departmental chiefs revealed that the proxies for maternity leave were not available at most institutions, and that there was only limited availability of night child care (41%) or sick child care (39%); female neurosurgeons did not appear to be well-informed of these support systems. These findings suggest that apart from systematic approaches already in place, female neurosurgeons would prefer to have more understanding from their peers and chiefs.
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