16 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe female surgeons' perceptions of discrimination against them as women during the selection and training process and in career development and advancement, and to describe trends over time. Design: Population survey of practising Canadian female surgeons. Setting: Canada. Participants: All 459 female members in good standing of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the Corporation professionnelle des medecins du Quebec, or both, practising in Canada as of March 1990. Participants completed a survey between March 1990 and May 1992; the response rate was 91% (419/459). Outcome measures: Reported levels of discrimination during selection and training and in career development and advancement, institutional policies on maternity leave and job sharing, and the existence of female role models or mentors. Results: Discrimination during the process of selection for residency was reported by 15% (63/413) of the respondents. Just over half of the respondents (206/405) reported male attending staff as being discriminatory during training, and 41% (168/407) reported nursing staff as being discriminatory. Almost half of the respondents (199/408) indicated that discrimination did not hinder their career development or advancement at all, and 29% (118) indicated that it had little effect. Almost two thirds (245/381) reported no maternity leave policies during residency or practice, and 78% (296/379) reported having no job-sharing opportunities. Although 82% (338/413) agreed that female medical students need female role models, 80% (330/415) reported they did not have a female mentor. Conclusions: Although most of our respondents perceived no discrimination in their selection for residency and reported that discrimination did not hinder their career development or advancement, the perception of discrimination during surgical training suggests that there needs to be a concentrated effort to identify and address problems. Moreover, since few respondents reported having institutional policies on maternity leave and job-sharing or female mentors, these issues need to be examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


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