Perceptions of gender-based discrimination during surgical training and practice

Adrienne N. Bruce*, Alexis Battista, Michael W. Plankey, Lynt B. Johnson, M. Blair Marshall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Background: Women represent 15% of practicing general surgeons. Gender-based discrimination has been implicated as discouraging women from surgery. We sought to determine women's perceptions of genderbased discrimination in the surgical training and working environment. Methods: Following IRB approval, we fielded a pilot survey measuring perceptions and impact of genderbased discrimination in medical school, residency training, and surgical practice. It was sent electronically to 1,065 individual members of the Association of Women Surgeons. Results:We received 334 responses from medical students, residents, and practicing physicians with a response rate of 31%. Eighty-seven percent experienced gender-based discrimination in medical school, 88% in residency, and 91% in practice. Perceived sources of gender-based discrimination included superiors, physician peers, clinical support staff, and patients, with 40% emanating from women and 60% from men. Conclusions: The majority of responses indicated perceived gender-based discrimination during medical school, residency, and practice. Gender-based discrimination comes from both sexes and has a significant impact on women surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25923
JournalMedical Education Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Surgery
  • Women
  • Women in medicine
  • Work discrimination


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