Sex-based Disparities Among Surgical Faculty Positions Across Medical Colleges in Pakistan

Hareem Rauf, Russell Seth Martins, Hibba Erum Arif, Aymen Ahmed, Arisha Nawaz, Mahim A. Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Despite women being under-represented in academic surgery, there is no publicly accessible repository describing the distribution of surgeons by sex and specialty in Pakistan. This short report aims to fulfill this gap by describing female representation across surgical faculty positions in medical colleges across Pakistan. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2021 across medical universities in Pakistan. A dual mode of data collection was employed, whereby data regarding sex, academic designation, and subspecialty of surgical faculty was retrieved via emails to representative faculty from medical colleges, and from medical colleges’ websites. Results: A total of 97/114 (85.1%) medical colleges across Pakistan were included, providing us with data of 2070 surgical faculty. Overall, only 10.3% of surgical faculty were women, with women comprising 14.1% of assistant professors, 9.3% of associate professors, and only 5.7% of professors. Most women surgical faculty were assistant professors (63.1%), with only 17.8% being professors. Sindh (14.3%) and Punjab (9.7%) had the greatest percentage of women across surgical faculty overall, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the lowest (6.5%). Apart from breast surgery (100%), pediatric surgery (29.4%), ophthalmology (15.0%) and general surgery (11.6%), women did not represent more than 10% of surgical faculty for any surgical subspecialty. Conclusion: In Pakistan, there is a blatant lack of female representation across all faculty positions and in most surgical specialties, with imbalances more pronounced in the relatively under-developed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These sex disparities may aggravate the surgical disease burden and adversely impact surgical prospects for women across the country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-876
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


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