Plastic Surgery Research Council

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Melting the Plastic Ceiling: Quantifying Resources for and Identifying Barriers to Women Seeking Academic Plastic Surgery Leadership Positions
Isabel Robinson, BA1, Amanda Silva, MD2, Salma Abdou, BA1, David Daar, MD MBA1, Alexes Hazen, MD1, Vishal Thanik, MD1.
1NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA, 2University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Purpose: To quantify departmental resources available to female plastic surgeons and identify remaining barriers to advancement for women in academic plastic surgery.
Methods: Academic plastic surgery departments were identified and a female faculty member or male program director was selected. Representatives were surveyed on their department's resources for promoting women leaders. An optional follow-up interview discussed current barriers to women seeking leadership positions.
Results: 49 of 93 survey recipients participated (52.7% response rate). Departments on average provided 2.69 of 11 resources (Table 1). Departments with female chairs provided 4.30 resources vs. 2.26 resources at departments with male chairs (p=0.014). Departments with female program directors provided 4.45 resources vs. 2.22 resources at departments with male program directors (p=0.006). Of the 49 survey respondents, 9 completed the interview (18.4% completion rate). The most frequently identified barriers to aspiring women leaders (Table 2) were opaque promotion criteria (cited by 66.7% of interviewees), compensation disparities (55.6%), faculty homogeneity (55.6%), and motherhood bias (55.6%).
Conclusions: The presence of a female chair or program director is associated with a greater quantity of resources for promoting female leaders. Remaining barriers to women ascending to academic leadership include compensation and promotion disparities, faculty homogeneity, and motherhood bias.


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