Sexual harassment and gender discrimination in gynecologic oncology

Marina Stasenko, Christopher Tarney, Kenneth Seier, Yovanni Casablanca, Carol L. Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prevalence of sexual harassment and perceptions of gender disparities affecting the careers of physicians in gynecologic oncology. Methods: We conducted a survey of US physician members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. Participants were queried about demographics, sexual harassment experiences during training/practice, and perceptions of gender disparities in compensation and career advancement. Responses were categorized as “never” versus “ever” and compared using Fisher's exact test. Results: The survey was sent to 1566 members—405 (255 females, 147 males, 3 other) responded (response rate 26%). Sixty-four percent reported having experienced sexual harassment during training/practice. Sexual harassment was experienced by 71% of females and 51% of males. Of these respondents, only 14.5% reported it. Reasons for not reporting included: “incident did not seem important enough” (40%); “did not think anything would be done about it” (37%); and “fear of reprisal” (34%). Female respondents were more likely to report gender affected their career advancement (34% vs. 10%; p ≤.001) and compensation (64% vs. 19%; p ≤.001); males were more likely to report no gender income disparity (91% vs. 57%; p ≤.001). Conclusions: Sexual harassment during training/practice appears common among male and female gynecologic oncologists. Although most are aware of how to report an incident, few do so, mostly for fear of reprisal or concern nothing will be done. Despite practicing in a field defined by caring for women, female physicians more often perceive gender influences their compensation and career advancement. Awareness of these issues can lead to their elimination from our specialty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-321
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender discrimination
  • Gynecologic oncologists
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Income disparity
  • Sexual harassment


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