Teodora C Dumitra, MD, Roshni Alam, Julio F Fiore, PhD, Juan Mata, MD, Gerald M Fried, MD, FRCSC, FACS, Melina C Vassiliou, MD, MED, FRCSC, Carmen Mueller, MD, FRCSC, MEd, FACS, Lawrence Lee, MD, PhD, Liane S Feldman, MD, FRCSC, FACS. Mcgill University
Introduction: The proportion of women in surgery has risen significantly yet there are disproportionately fewer women in positions of leadership within academic surgery. The career trajectory of women in surgical societies has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are differences in the advancement of women and men within SAGES leadership.
Methods: A retrospective audit of all SAGES committee members (CM) from 1981-2016 was performed. The gender distribution of the overall SAGES membership was only available from 2010-2016. Members participating in more than one committee were analyzed as a single entry. Leadership positions beyond CM included Committee Chair/Co-chair, Board of Governors and Executive Committee. Three distinct phenomena potentially affecting advancement of women were investigated: pipeline, by determining the rate of change in female CMs compared to overall SAGES membership over time; sticky floors, by comparing advancement beyond CM by gender; and glass-ceiling, by analyzing the promotion trajectory and time to leadership positions between genders. The analysis was performed from 1992 onward with the first female committee member. Statistical analysis comparing trends over time was performed using Kendall-tau.
Results: Of the 15,717 committee membership positions during the study period, 8003 unique CM were analyzed. Of these, 1,093 became chairs/co-chairs(13.7%), 950 reached the Board of Governors(11.9%) and 147 attained the Executive Committee(1.8%). Overall, women represented 14.7% of CMs, 14.7% of chairs/co-chairs, 15.2% of the Board and 15% of the executive committee, with one woman president. The proportion of female CMs has significantly increased over time from 3% in 1992 to 23% in 2016(p-trend<0.001). A similar proportion of women and men advanced beyond CM (2.4%vs2.9%,p=0.350), with no difference in time to advancement (Chair p=0.381, Board p=0.519, Executive p=0.829). From 2010-2016, the proportion of female CMs increased at a faster pace than the growth of overall SAGES female members (p=0.019). Moreover, from 2012 onwards, the proportion of female CM, chairs/co-chairs and Board members has surpassed the overall proportion of female members. Female executives also surpassed the latter in 2016 (29%vs16%). A similar proportion of men and women “skipped ranks” to reach the Board and/or Executive (34%vs20%,p=0.268).
Conclusion: The proportion of women in leadership positions within SAGES is higher than in the overall membership, and there were no differences in the advancement of female committee members to leadership positions. While these data are encouraging, SAGES should continue to foster the advancement of female surgeons for leadership positions.
Presented at the SAGES 2017 Annual Meeting in Houston, TX.
Abstract ID: 84948
Program Number: S105
Presentation Session: Diversity and Innovation Session
Presentation Type: Podium