02.12 Degree of Gender Equality by Surgeon Specialty on Surgical Journal Editorial Boards

S. S. Keswani1, 2, M. Potturu1, 2, S. Chawla1, 2, W. D. Short1, 2, O. Olutoye1, 2, S. G. Keswani1, 2  1Baylor College Of Medicine, Department Of Surgery, Houston, TX, USA 2Texas Children’s Hospital, Laboratory For Regenerative Tissue Repair, Houston, TX, USA

Women have begun to represent more of the surgical workforce, symbolizing continued success in promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion. Surgeons appointed to editorial boards, especially those of the main surgical journals, generally hold a moniker of high academic success in surgery. However, our prior data showed that there is a bias towards male editors in predominantly surgical journals. In this study, we sought to examine the degree of gender equality between different surgical subspecialties on the editorial boards of the major surgical journals.

Surgical journals obtained from the Clairvate Web of Science Group Master Journals List were examined for editorial board composition. The surgical journal websites and faculty biography pages were used to determine the gender and educational background for each North American-based member of the editorial board, as well as the gender, educational background, and current academic title for each editor-in-chief. Individuals were further grouped by surgical subspecialty field. Statistical analysis was performed via t-tests and Chi-Square tests; significance was defined as p<0.05.

The composition of editorial boards based on gender was determined for 67 surgical specialty journals with impact factors ranging from 0.4 to 10.6. 2980 editorial board members were identified, with 593 (19%) female members and 2387 (81%) male members. When considering senior editorial board positions, only 9% of the 78 chief editors identified were female. The ratio of female members also varied by specialty – there was a significantly higher number of female senior editors in the non-surgical specialties (36%) compared to surgical specialties (13%, p<0.01). The top 4 surgical subspecialties to represent women on senior editorial boards were transplant surgery (20% female), general surgery (16%), otolaryngology/plastic surgery/ophthalmology (12%), and orthopedic surgery (10%). Furthermore, some fields had a higher number of female chief editors compared to the other subspecialties. For example, general surgery had the highest number of female chief editors (3), followed by surgical oncology (2) and cardiovascular surgery and transplant surgery (1). Interestingly, the average journal impact factor of female editors was higher than that of males (3.88 vs 2.88, respectively, p<0.05).

Our analysis of the editorial board composition of surgical journals suggests there is variability in achieving gender equality amongst different surgical subspecialties and confirmed an overall bias towards male editors. Gender representation successes in non-surgical subspecialties and general surgery can be used to address equality issues in editorial leadership and shape a more diverse pool of surgeon scientists.