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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1997 Feb;99(2):289-99.

Plastic surgeons: a gender comparison.

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Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, USA.


This study surveyed plastic surgeons for the purpose of identifying gender-related differences within the specialty. A confidential 108-item questionnaire was mailed to all female members and candidates of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS) and to an equal number of male colleagues. The survey was conducted between September of 1992 and October of 1993 using a modified Dillman five-step computerized method. The response rate was 73 percent for women (157 of 216) and 57 percent for men (124 of 216). Of those who responded, 65 percent of women and 89 percent of men were married (p < 0.01). Fifty-two percent of women and 86 percent of men had biologic children (p < 0.001). The majority of surgeons surveyed (97 percent) were in full-time surgical practice. Many women reported delaying childbearing until they had begun full-time practice of plastic surgery (p < 0.001). No significant gender-related differences were noted with respect to medical school rank, training history, advanced degrees, subspecialty practiced, hospital affiliation, or hours worked. Women surgeons in academic practice held lower rank than men and were less likely to be tenured (p < 0.04). Gross annual income was lower for women (p < 0.001). In contrast to men (27 percent), most women (89 percent) perceived sexual discrimination and harassment (p < 0.001). The majority of plastic surgeons were satisfied with their financial situation (80 percent), work (94 percent), and family life (76 percent). Over 90 percent of both women and men were happy with their career choice and would encourage medical students to become surgeons. Plastic surgeons do not differ in training or professional practice characteristics. Discrimination and harassment and unequal promotion and remuneration of women in the university environment are problems that need to be eliminated.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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