Perceptions of Gender Stereotypes among Women Residents in Surgical and Nonsurgical Specialties

South Med J. 2023 Jun;116(6):496-501. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001563.


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine whether and to what degree residents experience stereotype perception by gender and specialty type (surgical vs nonsurgical).

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was sent to resident physicians across all specialties at a single academic institution in February 2021. The survey items asked whether participants believe residents, faculty, and the public expect men or women to be better physicians on a numerical scale from 1 to 7. A χ2 test compared the calculated mean and standard error for each survey item. This study took place at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, a large academic tertiary care center.

RESULTS: A total of 411 (46% of total) residents participated; 13 were excluded because of nonbinary gender or missing demographic information, for a final sample of 398. Participants perceived all three groups to expect men to be better physicians than women. Regression analysis showed a significant effect of gender on stereotype perception, with women reporting stronger stereotype perceptions than men. There were no significant differences in stereotype perceptions by specialty type.

CONCLUSIONS: Women resident physicians in both surgical and nonsurgical fields reported higher levels of gender stereotype perception compared with men, making it imperative that graduate medical education leadership support changes to the current learning environment.

PMID:37263613 | DOI:10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001563

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