Gender Imbalance in Invited Speakers at a National Plastic Surgery Meeting
Katherine B. Santosa, MD1, Bianca Vannucci, BA1, Jodi Lapidus, BA1, Katherine M. Gast, MD, MS2, Jennifer F. Waljee, MD, MPH, MS3, Susan E. Mackinnon, MD1, Alison Snyder-Warwick, MD1.
1Washington University, Saint Louis, MO, USA, 2University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA, 3University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Purpose: Participating in and attending scientific meetings within plastic and reconstructive surgery offers numerous benefits for practitioners at all levels. Not only are participants given the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge innovations, exchange new ideas with colleagues, and network with fellow surgeons, but meeting participation also affords recognition and respect for investigators' work in the field. Studies suggest, however, that these opportunities are not made equally available for female researchers compared to their male counterparts. Methods: We analyzed bibliometric data (h-index, m-value) and metrics of academic productivity (number of career publications, number of publications in 2015-2016, number of career peer-reviewed publications, number of first author publications, number of senior author publications) of male and female plastic surgeons who were invited speakers (moderators) at the 2017 Plastic Surgery Research Council (PSRC) meeting. Bibliometric data and metrics of academic productivity by speaker gender, the independent variable, were analyzed using an independent-samples t-test. Results: In total, there were 46 invited speakers to the 2017 PSRC Annual Meeting. Of these, two were excluded in our analysis as they were not plastic surgeons. Of the 44 plastic surgeons invited to speak at the meeting, eight (18.2%) were female. There were no differences in h-index (17.7±10.6 vs. 14.9±5.0, p=0.47) or m-value (1.01±0.55 vs. 0.91±0.29, p=0.62) between male and female speakers. Additionally, there were no differences in academic productivity metrics between the two genders (number of career publications: 72.8±55.0 vs. 50.8±23.3, p=0.28; number of publications in 2015-2016: 12.1±10.2 vs. 8.8±4.13, p=0.37; number of career peer-reviewed publications: 63.1±47.2 vs. 41.5±19.1, p=0.21; number of first author publications: 14.1±11.5 vs. 12.9±7.7, p=0.77; number of senior author publications: 23.2±22.4 vs. 10.6±5.4, p=0.13). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that in 2017, women were still not equitably represented in a major national academic plastic surgery meeting, representing only 18.2% of all invited speakers. Our preliminary analyses indicate that female plastic surgeons are as well accomplished as their male colleagues, with no differences in bibliometric data or other academic productivity metrics. Our specialty needs to critically assess etiologic factors for this discrepancy, including barriers to female speaker invitations, as well as potential biases present. Inclusion of deserving presenters, regardless of gender, is of obvious importance to the future of our innovative specialty.
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