Gender and Mentorship in Military Medicine: A Survey Study

Rebekah Cole, Kaitlin Zurbrugg, Yen Lee, Ting Dong, Jessica Bunin, Guinevere Granite, Amber Barak, Sherri L Rudinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Mentorship is essential for professional development and advancement within the military. In civilian medicine, the intersection between gender and mentorship holds important implications for research opportunities, academic success, and career progression. However, the intersection of gender and mentorship has not yet been explored within the field of military medicine. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to investigate the role of gender in mentorship within the field of military medicine.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We investigated gender and mentorship within military medicine by developing and distributing a 16-item Likert survey to active-duty military physicians. We used the Chi-squared test of independence and the independent samples t-test to examine the role of gender in mentorship among the 16 questions.

RESULTS: The male respondents reported more same-gender mentors than females (male [M]: 61.9% vs. female [F]: 33.0%), whereas the female respondents had significantly more mentors of the opposite gender than males (M: 12.4% vs. F: 47.3%). A higher proportion of males indicated no preference compared to females. Conversely, a significant preference for a same-sex mentor was expressed by female respondents compared to male respondents (M: 5.2% vs. F: 30.1%). In contrast, female respondents considered having a mentor more important than their male counterparts (t(206) = -2.26, P = .012, F: 3.86 vs. M: 3.57). Both male and female respondents had significantly more female mentees ($\chi _{\left( 1 \right)}^2$ = 12.92, P < .001, Cramer's V = 0.254).

CONCLUSIONS: While the female participants in our study preferred female mentors, the male participants had more same-gender mentors than the female participants. In addition, more females reported that they did not have the time to be mentored. Our results, therefore, suggest that training males to be better mentors to females and providing accessible mentorship training to females may promote equitable career development within military medicine.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMilitary Medicine
StateE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2024


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