Gender Diversity in Organized Plastic Surgery: Evaluation of Leadership in Societies and Editorial Boards
Kevin Chen, MD1, Grace Ha, BA1, Benjamin D. Schultz, MD1, Ben Zhang, BA1, Mark L. Smith, MD1, James P. Bradley, MD1, Charles H. Thorne, MD2, Armen K. Kasabian, MD1, Andrea L. Pusic, MD MHS3, Neil Tanna, MD MBA1.
1Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, New Hyde Park, NY, USA, 2Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY, USA, 3Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Purpose: Previous literature from 2007 has cited that women represent 11.3% of the leadership positions in plastic surgery societies and journal editorial boards. At the time this was published, only 22% of plastic surgery residents were female. As of the most recent ACGME data, females now comprise 40.5% of integrated plastic surgery residents, showing that the number of women in plastic surgery continues to grow, but no further investigation of the representation of women in these leadership positions has been performed. This study aimed to analyze the trends of gender inequality in leadership of plastic surgery societies and journal editorial boards in the past ten years.
Methods: Names of board members from the major plastic surgery societies (ASPS, PSF, ASAPS, ASMS, ASRM, AAHS, ABPS) for the past ten years were extracted from their websites. Names of board members from the major plastic journals (PRS, Annals of Plastic Surgery, ASJ, JRM, JCF) from the past 5 years were extracted from their websites. The yearly percentage of female plastic surgery residents was obtained from ACGME published data. The proportions of female society leadership and female editorial board members, and percentage of female residents were compared with data analyses of time series trend and linear and ARIMA time series modeling.
Results: Over the past 10 years, the percentage of female residents across both independent and integrated programs has grown steadily from 21.84% to 37.31%. Similarly, female representation in society leadership has grown steadily from 6.78% to 20.29%. Both growth coefficients were statistically significant and when comparing the two showed no statistical difference. In contrast, editorial board leadership over the past 5 years has shown relatively flat growth, with the percentage of females hovering around 10% until 2018 when it increased to 12%. The modeled growth coefficient of the female percentage of editorial boards was statistically insignificant and showed a statistically significant difference when compared to the growth of the percentage of female residents and female representation on society leadership.
Conclusion: Female representation in plastic surgery residencies and plastic surgery society leadership has grown significantly and at a similar rate. Currently both absolute percentages sit well above the current percentage of female ABPS members of 15%, which is promising for female growth in the field. In contrast, female representation in editorial boards showed significantly less growth, which may reflect the slower turnover of their members.
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