ESMO Women for Oncology: Past Initiatives

A long-term commitment to support the development of women oncologists into leaders

In 2013, ESMO started bringing to the attention of the international oncology community the limited presence of women oncologists in leadership positions, compared to the increasing number of women entering medical school and working in oncology teams.

What are the key challenges and what can ESMO do as a professional society? The ESMO Women for Oncology initiatives aim to address these challenges.

ESMO Women for Oncology Session

27 September 2015

peters solange

Solange Peters

Women oncologist leaders met at the ESMO Women for Oncology Session on Sunday 27 September during ECC 2015 to discuss challenges women face in their career development, to network and inspire future generations.

Solange Peters (Switzerland), Chair of the ESMO Women for Oncology Committee and Martine Piccart (Belgium), founder of the initiative, guided the discussion on these important topics.

Frances A. Shepherd from the Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Toronto, Canada, gave important hints to women for developing a successful career. Eva Thalmann from Jannsen Europe, Austria reported on challenges faced by women in the industry sector and on interesting initiatives to face them.

ESMO announces the creation of the ESMO Women for Oncology Committee and of the ESMO Women for Oncology Award

28 September 2014

During ESMO 2014, acknowledging the need for a continuous effort in supporting the professional development of women oncologists, ESMO announced the creation of the ESMO Women for Oncology Committee with the aim of promoting initiatives that underpin the career needs of women oncologists.

To recognise those leaders who contributed to the career development of women oncologists, Rolf Stahel announced the creation of the ESMO Women for Oncology Award to be presented for the first time at the 2015 congress.

ESMO President, Rolf Stahel, announces the new ESMO Women for Oncology award during the Opening Session of ESMO 2014

ESMO Women for Oncology Forum

28 September 2013

Women for Oncology forum 2013

In 2013, ESMO launched the first ESMO Women for Oncology forum, an initiative to build a network of women in oncology, with the aim of promoting a dialogue about opportunities and strategic solutions to common problems in the field and to support female oncologists’ access to leadership positions.

Under the guidance of Martine Piccart (Belgium), founder of the initiative, and a group of international panellists, forum participants discussed their significant efforts to achieve their career goals and the important ways in which they contribute to the profession.

Lack of, and need for, role models and mentors, and flexible career options to allow for a better professional/personal life balance were some of the requests addressed by the participants.

Martine Piccart

We want to find innovative ways to ensure that we have enough female oncology leaders to care for the rapidly increasing cancer patient population and to work in the best way to address the needs and interests of our highly motivated and qualified members.

Martine Piccart, Women for Oncology initiative founder

ESMO Exploratory study on the challenges for female oncologists in reaching leadership positions

Summer 2013

What are the major challenges that female oncologists face in reaching leadership positions? How can ESMO provide support to channel the abundance of multi-talented female oncologists for the advantage of our profession and the ultimate benefit of cancer patients?

To answer these question and to gather information not previously available for the medical oncology field, ESMO launched the first exploratory study on the career challenges face by female oncologists.

Almost 700 female oncologists participated in the study, providing an invaluable insight into their career challenges. This was the basis for the ideas exchange and constructive discussion during the first Women for Oncology Forum. Read the full survey results!