Trends in Gender Representation at National Academic Plastic Surgery Conferences: A Picture of Progress
Allison C Hu, BA; Gregory RD Evans, MD; Cathy J Tang, MD; Amber Leis, MD
Department of Plastic Surgery, University of California, Irvine, Orange, CA
Background: Although there has been an increase in the number of women pursuing plastic surgical training, women continue to be underrepresented in academic plastic surgery. The objective of the present study was to characterize the trends in women representation at national plastic surgery meetings.
Methods: A retrospective review of all scientific session moderators and panelists at the following annual meetings from 2015 to 2019 were reviewed: American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS), American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and the Plastic Surgeon Research Council (PSRC). Total and unique women representation by meeting, scientific session topic, and year were evaluated. Proportion of men-only panels over time were also analyzed. Chi-square tests were used for bivariate analysis and Cochran–Armitage for trend analysis. p<0.05 was considered significant.
Results: There were 833 moderators and panelists at national plastic surgery meetings from 2015 to 2019. There was a total of 171 women moderators and panelists (20.5%). Only 121 unique women made up all women moderators and panelists, averaging 1.4 moderated sessions per woman. When categorized by year, 2018 had the highest (30.3%) percentage of women representation. From 2015 to 2019, women representation in moderator positions generally increased from 9.5% to 24.6%, and this trend was significantly different (p<0.0001). Trends across meetings were also statistically significant (AAPS, p=0.0007 and PSRC, p=0.0012), however ASPS did not show a significant difference in women representation over the five years. When categorized by specialty of the scientific session, breast surgery (35.4%) had the highest percentage of women representation. There was no appreciable trend associated with the proportion of women representation with any of the specialties except for aesthetic surgery (p=0.0145). Men-only sessions or panels significantly decreased over the five-year period from 73.2% to 51.4% (p=0.0007). Conclusions: Women continue to constitute a minority of moderator and panelist positions at academic plastic surgery conferences. However, improvements have been made in women representation over the past five years. While these findings are encouraging, efforts to continue increasing diversification and women representation at national plastic surgery meetings must continue. Further evaluation of these trends is necessary and tracking of progress should be standardized.
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