Health, Happiness, Wellness and Women

Health, Happiness, Wellness and Women

Perspective from Rachel M. Frank, MD
Disclosures: Acuña reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
April 23, 2021
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Study: Gender parity among orthopedic surgeons will take more than 200 years to achieve

Perspective from Rachel M. Frank, MD
Disclosures: Acuña reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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With the proportion of female orthopedic surgeons increasing at a rate of 2% annually, the orthopedic profession is projected to achieve gender parity in 217 years, or by 2236, according to published results.

To determine how percentages of women among all currently practicing orthopedic providers has changed in the United States, researchers used the National Provider Identier Registry of the CMS to identify 31,296 practicing orthopedic surgeons, of which 8% were women.

After performing linear regression and factoring in the overall proportion of women in the United States, researchers projected that gender parity could be achieved when women represent 36.3% of the profession. According to the study, the national proportion of female orthopedic surgeons increased from 6% to 8% from 2010 to 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 2%.

Assuming the 2% growth rate, the time to achieve gender parity within the orthopedic medical profession is projected to be 217 years, or by the year 2236, the researchers found.

Additionally, researchers noted the lowest growth rates of women in the profession were reported in the West and South regions of the United States, as well as in adult reconstruction and spine surgery subspecialities.

“Given this meager growth, we believe that substantive changes must be made across all levels of orthopedic education and leadership to steepen the current curve,” the researchers wrote in the study. “These include mandating that all medical school curricula include dedicated exposure to orthopedic surgery to increase the number of women coming through the orthopedic pipeline.”