Does Chair of Surgery Gender Influence Divisional or Residency Program Director Gender Diversity?

Academic Article


  • Background: Workplace diversity is beneficial and results in new ideas and improved performance. Within surgery leadership, the gender gap is improving, but still present. Given the increasing number of women surgery department chairs, we aimed to examine the association of surgery chair gender with division and residency program director gender. We hypothesized that surgery departments with female leadership would have an increase in gender diversity compared to departments led by male chairs. Materials and methods: A list of all surgery departments were compiled from the Society of Surgical Chairs website. Gender of department chair, division director and residency program director were examined and compared. Chair position term length was determined based on online public announcements, publicly available curriculum vitae, and institutional profile biographies. Results: Of 178 department chairs included, 10.7% were female, and 89.3% were male. There was no difference in female residency program director leadership between female versus male led programs (42.1 versus 26.1%, P= 0.147). Of the programs with female department chairs, only 29.4% had any female division directors compared to 54.6% led by male chairs (P= 0.055). When examining departments with ≥5 division directors, there was no difference in the average number of female division directors within departments led by female versus male chairs. There was a significant difference in length of surgery chairship, with female chairs holding the position for fewer years than male chairs (median time 5.3 (IQR = 3.4-5.8) versus 7.0 (IQR=4.3-12.3) years, P= 0.032). Conclusions: Female department chair leadership was not associated with increased diversity in divisional leadership compared to departments of surgery led by males.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kennedy GE; Bergstresser SL; Rakestraw SL; Novak Z; Corey B; Chen H; Sutzko DC
  • Start Page

  • 224
  • End Page

  • 228
  • Volume

  • 267