Career Advancement Among Women Physicians in Nine Academic Medicine Specialties

Moon O. Lee, Brenda Flores, Magali Fassiotto, Cherri Hobgood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Gender parity lags in academic medicine. We applied the Rank Equity Index (REI) to compare the longitudinal progress of women’s academic medicine careers. We hypothesized that women have different rank parity in promotion by specialty based on the proportion of women in the specialty. Materials and Methods: Aggregate data by sex for medical students, residents, assistant professors, associate professors, and professors in nine specialties were obtained from the Association of American Medical Colleges for 2019–2020. Specialties were clustered into terciles based on the proportion of women in the field: upper (obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry), middle (internal medicine, emergency medicine, anesthesia), and lower (surgery, urology, and orthopedic surgery). We calculated the percentage representation by sex by specialty and rank to calculate REI. Specialty-specific REI comparisons between each rank were performed to assess parity in advancement. Results: Only specialties in the upper tercile recruited proportionally more women medical students to residency training. All specialties advanced women for the resident-to-assistant professor with psychiatry, internal medicine, emergency medicine, anesthesia, urology, and orthopedic surgery that promoted women faculty at rates above parity. No specialty demonstrated parity in advancement based on sex for the assistant professor-to-associate professor or associate professor-to-professor transitions. Conclusion: Gender inequity in advancement is evident in academic medicine starting at the assistant professor-to-associate professor stage, regardless of overall proportion of women in the specialty. This suggests a common set of barriers to career advancement of women faculty in academic medicine that must be addressed starting at the early career stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1079
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine

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