Health, Happiness, Wellness and Women

Health, Happiness, Wellness and Women

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
September 25, 2020
1 min read

Many women orthopedic trainees report having experienced sexual harassment

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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A high proportion of women orthopedic surgeons reported experiencing sexual harassment during orthopedic residency, including inappropriate remarks, unwanted touching and staring and persistent sexual invitations, according to study results.

Between October 2019 and December 2019, 250 active and resident members of the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society, a professional society for women orthopedic surgeons, completed an anonymous 12-question survey on sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to the study, 68% of respondents (n = 171) reported experiencing sexual harassment during orthopedic residency training. Obscene images in the workplace (29%, n = 72 of all respondents), unwanted touching (21%, n = 53 of all respondents) and persistent and unwanted invitations of sexual nature (14%, n = 34 of all respondents) were the most commonly reported forms of sexual harassment. Of those surveyed who reported sexual harassment, 71% reported harassment by residents who were men, 71% reported harassment by attending surgeons who were men and 43% reported harassment by patients.

Additionally, 15% (n = 26) of respondents who reported experiencing sexual harassment reported the incident to a superior or law enforcement, according to the study.

Among those surveyed, no differences were found in the proportion of reported sexual harassment between current and past trainees. No geographic differences were found either.

“Reported sexual harassment remains pervasive in the orthopedic profession, however with an emphasis on the increase of the recruitment of women to our eld through mentorship, coupled with the increase of women in leadership positions, the orthopedic community can work towards making the specialty more inclusive,” the authors wrote in the study. “Residency programs should take steps to further identify and combat the sources of sexual harassment by increasing the number of women in leadership roles within the department and by ensuring that women trainees have adequate mentorship from both women and men attendings,” they wrote.