Danielle K Craigg, MD, Sharona B Ross, MD, Mica Jadick, Iswanto Sucandy, MD, Alexander S Rosemurgy, MD. Digestive Health Institute Florida Hospital Tampa
Background: Surgery has long been a male-dominated discipline with gender roles traditionally defined along societal norms. Presumably, as society has evolved, so have male surgeons’ perceptions of female surgeons, though data is lacking. This study was undertaken to determine if male surgeons’ perceptions of female surgeons represent a bias against women in Surgery.
Methods: 190 male surgeons were queried regarding their attitudes toward female surgeons utilizing a validated questionnaire. The survey included binary, multiple choice, and Likert scale questions (1=definitely disagree to 5=definitely agree).
Results: Of the 190 male surgeons, 84% have been attending surgeons for more than 5 years; 78% deem female surgeons as capable as their male colleagues. 80% of respondents consider it possible for a woman to be a good surgeon, mother and spouse; however, 76% believe female surgeons experience more pressure to balance work and family. 75% of the male surgeons think female surgeons have the same advancement opportunities as men, though 43% agree that gender discrimination against women does exist in Surgery. 56% of male surgeons believe that the discipline of Surgery is not sexist against women. 39% of male surgeons believe it is easier to retain male surgeons as opposed to female surgeons in residency. Of note, 40% of male surgeons believe that work hours are the greatest deterrent to women entering the surgical profession. 64% of the respondents consider the “surgical discipline” accountable for fewer women finishing training, yet 57% think the rate of women entering surgery is not a problem to address. Only 24% of respondents believe there are "too few" women in surgery today.
Conclusions: While most male surgeons have generally favorable opinions of the personal and professional abilities of female surgeons, favorable opinions are not nearly universal; a bias against women persists in Surgery. Considering that nearly half of medical students today are women, the discipline of Surgery dismisses this talent pool only to its detriment. Surgery, but especially male surgeons in Surgery, must evolve to eliminate bias against women in Surgery. Only by promoting an equitable and inclusive work environment that promotes the engagement of women, can we improve the future of Surgery for the betterment of all its stakeholders, including patients.
KEY WORDS: women surgeons, men surgeons, Surgery, perspective, opportunities, gender discrimination
Presented at the SAGES 2017 Annual Meeting in Houston, TX.
Abstract ID: 95742
Program Number: S101
Presentation Session: Diversity
Presentation Type: Podium