Teodora C Dumitra, MD, Larry Lee, MD, Carmen L Mueller, MD, Liane S Feldman, MD. McGill University Health Centre
Background: There is a significant gender imbalance in academic medicine. Speaking invitations are used by faculty promotion and tenure committees as evidence of external recognition. However, women are underrepresented as speakers at specialty society conferences. Having women involved in speaker selection has been shown to increase the proportion of women speakers. The purpose of this study was to estimate to what extent the gender of session chairs is associated with the gender distribution of invited speakers on panels at the SAGES meeting.
Methods: A retrospective audit of annual SAGES meeting programs from 2009-2018 was performed. All invited panel speakers, defined as faculty that delivered a prepared oral presentation in a session under the organization of one or more chairs, were identified. The gender of invited speakers, chairs and co-chairs was determined using membership data provided by SAGES and internet search. Hands-on courses, paper sessions, military symposia, mock trials and jeopardy sessions were excluded. We compared the proportion of women speakers and the proportion of “manels” (panels with only male invited speakers) for sessions with all-male chairs versus sessions with at least one women chair. Statistical analysis was performed using Chi-square and t-test.
Results: There were 3405 speakers and 459 panels identified from 2009-2018 SAGES programs. After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 2840 invited speakers on 403 panels were analyzed. Overall, the proportion of women speakers was 15% (95%CI 13-16), and increased from 9% in 2009 to 20% in 2018. This reflects the rise in the proportion of women overall members (11% in 2010 to 17% in 2017). The proportion of panels with at least one woman chair or co-chairs was 34%, and increased from 12% to 58%. Manels represented 40% of all panels (n=163). The proportion of manels significantly decreased over time from 50% in 2009 to 31% in 2018 (p-trend<0.000). In sessions chaired by only men, there were 47% manels, while sessions with at least one woman chair convened 13% manels (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The proportion of women invited speakers at the annual SAGES meeting has significantly increased over time. All male session chairs were more likely to convene an all male speaker panel or “manel”. A woman chair or co-chair increased the number of women speakers and is a successful strategy to address gender imbalance in conference planning.
Presented at the SAGES 2017 Annual Meeting in Houston, TX.
Abstract ID: 95253
Program Number: S090
Presentation Session: Plenary I
Presentation Type: Podium