Women physicians underrepresented in American Academy of Neurology recognition awards

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate representation by gender among recipients of physician recognition awards presented by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

Methods

We analyzed lists of individual recipients over the 63-year history of the AAN recognition awards. Included were awards intended primarily for physician recipients that recognized a body of work over the course of a career. The primary outcome measures were total numbers and proportions of men and women physician award recipients.

Results

During the period studied, the proportion of women increased from 18% (1996) to 31.5% (2016) among AAN US neurologist members and from 18.6% (1992) to 35% (2015) in academia, and the AAN presented 323 awards to physician recipients. Of these recipients, 264 (81.7%) were men and 59 (18.3%) were women. During the most recent 10-year period studied (2008–2017), the proportion of women increased from 24.7% (2008) to 31.5% (2016) among AAN US neurologist members and from 28% (2009) to 35% (2015) in academia, and the AAN presented 187 awards to physician recipients, comprising 146 men (78.1%) and 41 women (21.9%). Although it has been more than 2 decades since the proportion of women among US neurologist members of the AAN was lower than 18%, 1 in 4 AAN award categories demonstrated 0% to 18% representation of women among physician recipients during the most recent decade. Moreover, for highly prestigious awards, underrepresentation was more pronounced.

Conclusion

Although the reasons why are not clear, women were often underrepresented among individual physician recognition award recipient lists, particularly for highly prestigious awards.

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