Ensuring the Success of Women in Academic Orthopaedics

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Abstract

In spring of 1995, the Academic Orthopaedic Society convened a panel of 21 female academic orthopaedists and 24 senior members of the society to discuss the challenges facing female orthopaedic residents and women in academic orthopaedics. Participants began by reviewing results of a 200 item mail survey of fulltime and parttime female academic orthopaedic surgeons. The survey had been conducted in early 1995. Using the Delphi technique, the panelists identified challenges facing women and ranked them in priority order. Although the challenges identified by survey respondents and panelists were similar, the priority assigned to them varied. Panel and survey findings pointed to a need for action in six areas: increasing mentoring; overcoming gender bias; reducing women's social and professional isolation; increasing attention to promotion and salary equity; providing greater accomodation for family responsibilities; and expanding recruitment efforts. This paper suggests actions that department chairpersons and the Academic Orthopaedic Society may take to attract more women to academic orthopaedics. Because many of the issues emerging from the survey and panel were not gender specific, implementation of the recommendations may benefit male and female orthopaedic residents and academic surgeons in general.

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