Women in surgery: challenges and opportunities

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Abstract

Women have been involved in surgery throughout history. However, despite the fact that there are now as many female medical students compared with male students in universities, men still significantly outnumber women in a number of procedural specialties, most notably surgery. This article discusses the factors that can influence women’s choice of surgical career, and the challenges and discrimination that women can face as surgeons. There is a strong argument for substantive policy change at the individual, organizational, and governmental level to reduce gendered discrimination and gendered stereotypes in surgery. We call upon all organizations involved in surgery, and particularly in the emerging field of global surgery, to actively work toward equity.

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