Gender discrimination against female surgeons: A cross-sectional study in a lower-middle-income country

Mahin B. Janjua, Hina Inam, Russell S. Martins, Nida Zahid, Abida K. Sattar, Shaista M. Khan, Sadaf Khan, Aneela Darbar, Nuzhat Faruqui, Sharmeen Akram, Syed A. Enam, Adil H. Haider, Mahim A. Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Although gender discrimination and bias (GD/bias) experienced by female surgeons in the developed world has received much attention, GD/bias in lower-middle-income countries like Pakistan remains unexplored. Thus, our study explores how GD/bias is perceived and reported by surgeons in Pakistan. Method: A single-center cross-sectional anonymous online survey was sent to all surgeons practicing/training at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan. The survey explored the frequency, source and impact of GD/bias among surgeons. Results: 98/194 surgeons (52.4%) responded to the survey, of which 68.4% were males and 66.3% were trainees. Only 19.4% of women surgeons reported ‘significant’ frequency of GD/bias during residency. A higher percentage of women reported ‘insignificant’ frequency of GD/bias during residency, as compared to males (61.3% vs. 32.8%; p = 0.004). However, more women surgeons reported facing GD/bias in various aspects of their career/training, including differences in mentorship (80.6% vs. 26.9%; p < 0.005) and differences in operating room opportunities (77.4% vs. 32.8%; p < 0.005). The source was most frequently reported to be co-residents of the opposite gender. Additionally, a high percentage of female surgeons reported that their experience of GD/bias had had a significant negative impact on their career/training progression, respect/value in the surgical team, job satisfaction and selection of specialty. Conclusion: Although GD/bias has widespread impacts on the training/career of female surgeons in Pakistan, most females fail to recognize this GD/bias as “significant”. Our results highlight a worrying lack of recognition of GD/bias by female surgeons, representing a major barrier to gender equity in surgery in Pakistan and emphasizing the need for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Medicine and Surgery
Volume57
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

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