female_neurosurgeon

Female neurosurgeon

Female neurosurgeon representation has increased, but women still represent only 8.4% of neurosurgeons in the US. Women are significantly underrepresented as authors in neurosurgical and spine journals, a key indicator of professional success in academic medicine. Johnson et al. aimed to assess the gender diversity of first and last authors of accepted abstracts at neurosurgical conferences in 2015 and 2019.

Annual meeting abstracts for 2015 and 2019 of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), and pediatrics, spine, stereotactic and functional surgery, and cerebrovascular AANS/CNS subspecialty sections were obtained and analyzed for gender. Partial data were obtained for tumor and pain sections. Composite gender data were obtained from the societies. Percentage differences were calculated using a comparison of proportions testing.

Overall, female neurosurgeons accounted for only 8.3% of first and 5.8% of last authors, and 7.2% of authors overall. The pediatrics section had the highest proportion of female neurosurgeons as first (13.7%) and last (12.4%) abstract authors, while the spine section had the lowest proportions of female neurosurgeon first (4.6%) and last (2.0%) authors. Qualitatively, a higher proportion of women were first authors, while a higher proportion of men were last authors. Overall, there was no significant change in female neurosurgeon authorship between 2015 and 2019. With regard to society demographics, female neurosurgeons accounted for only 6.3% of AANS membership. The pediatrics section had the highest proportion of female neurosurgeons at 18.1% and the stereotactic and functional surgery section had the lowest of the subspecialty sections (7.6%). While female neurosurgeons represented 12.6% of spine section membership, they represented only 4.7% of first authors (-7.9% difference; p < 0.0001) and 2.4% of last authors (-10.2% difference; p < 0.0001). For the 2019 cerebrovascular section, female neurosurgeons were underrepresented as presenting authors (5.8%) compared with their membership representation (14.8%, -9.0% difference; p = 0.0018).

Despite an increase in the number of female neurosurgeons, there has not been a corresponding increase in the proportion of female neurosurgeons as abstract authors at annual neurosurgery conferences, and female neurosurgeons remain underrepresented as authors compared with their male colleagues 1)


The ongoing trend of societal evolution in contemporary civilization has allowed increased inclusion of heterogenous identity groups into fields, such as neurosurgery, where certain groups have traditionally been underrepresented. In regard to the field of neurosurgery, the increasing recognition of the disparities faced by women is illustrated by a growing body of academic literature.

Methods: We conducted a bibliometric analysis querying the PubMed, Web of Science (WoS), Scopus, and Embase databases for articles on female neurosurgeon using the MeSH terms “woman,” “women,” “gender,” neurosurgery,“ neurological surgery,” and “neurosurgeon”. Articles were excluded if they do not concern societal impact of non-male population in the context of neurosurgery. Total citations, mean citations per year, publishing journal information, and author demographics were abstracted from included reports. Associations between abstracted continuous variables was evaluated using the Pearson correlation coefficient. Derived p-values of less than 0.05 were taken as significant.

Results: A total of 49 articles were included. Total numbers of citations per report were positively associated with mean citations per year (r=0.7289, p=0.0253) the latter of which was slightly negatively associated with the age of the report (r=-0.0413, p=0.0009). Age of publication year was found to be negatively correlated with the number of reports published per year (r=-0.648, p=0.0066). Total citations per reports were significantly correlated with increased numbers of citations during the last completed calendar year (2019: r=0.8956, p=0.0397).

Conclusion: ecognition in societal evolutionary trends as evidenced by academic activity has shown increased focus on the explicit and intrinsic biases faced by female neurosurgeon. Recent years have seen significant increases in published reports concerning the subject as well as rising academic impact per a given report. This phenomenon is speculated to continue and understanding to broaden as societal perception continues to develop 2).


Women's history month and the history of women in neurosurgery 3).


The objective of a study was to evaluate whether there are disparities in academic rank and promotion between men and women neurosurgeons.

The profiles of faculty members from 50 academic neurosurgery programs were reviewed to identify years in practice, number of PubMed-indexed publications, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) attainment, and academic rank. The number of publications at each academic rank was compared between men and women after controlling for years in practice by using a negative binomial regression model. The relationship between gender and each academic rank was also determined after controlling for clustering at the institutional level, years in practice, and number of publications.

Of 841 faculty members identified, 761 (90%) were men (p = 0.0001). Women represented 12% of the assistant and associate professors but only 4% of the full professors. Men and women did not differ in terms of the percentage holding a PhD, years in practice, or number of publications at any academic rank. After controlling for years in practice and clustering at the facility level, the authors found that men were twice as likely as women to be named full professor (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.09-4.44, p = 0.03). However, when institution, years in practice, PhD attainment, h-index, and number of publications were considered, men and women were equally likely to attain full professorship (OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.42-1.93).

Data analysis of the top neurosurgery programs suggests that although there are fewer women than men holding positions in academic neurosurgery, faculty rank attainment does not seem to be influenced by gender 4).


1)
Johnson GW, Almgren-Bell A, Skidmore A, Raval D, Blow G, Gu H, Mackey K, Groves M, Lee H, Strahle JM. Representation of female neurosurgeons as abstract authors at neurological surgery conferences. J Neurosurg. 2022 Feb 25:1-7. doi: 10.3171/2022.1.JNS212096. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35213836.
2)
Carpenter K, Scullen T, Mathkour M, Dumont AS, Biro E, Kahn L. Social Perception and Academic Trends on Women in the Field of Neurosurgery: A Bibliometric Analysis. World Neurosurg. 2021 Apr 22:S1878-8750(21)00597-0. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2021.04.056. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33895374.
3)
Drummond KJ, Rosseau G. Introduction: Women's history month and the history of female neurosurgeon. J Clin Neurosci. 2021 Feb 11:S0967-5868(21)00065-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2021.02.001. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33583642.
4)
Dossani RH, Terrell D, Kosty JA, Ross RC, Demand A, Wild E, Peterson R, Ngwenya LB, Benzil DL, Notarianni C. Gender disparities in academic rank achievement in neurosurgery: a critical assessment. J Neurosurg. 2019 Nov 8:1-6. doi: 10.3171/2019.8.JNS191219. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31703191.
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