The gender gap in a surgical subspecialty: Analysis of career and lifestyle factors

Jennifer Rubin Grandis, William E. Gooding, Beth A. Zamboni, Marilyn M. Wagener, Stephanie D. Drenning, Lori Miller, Karen Jo Doyle, Susan E. Mackinnon, Robin L. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Background: Although the percentage of women in surgical subspecialties is increasing, little is known about the experiences of these women compared with their male counterparts. Objective: To identify career and lifestyle factors that distinguish female otolaryngologists. Design, Setting, and Participants: Otolaryngologists were asked to respond to a confidential 119-item questionnaire. The instrument was sent to all 502 female members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery who had finished their residency training and were practicing medicine. For response comparison, the survey was mailed to 2 male otolaryngologists who were matched to each female survey recipient for years since completion of training, geographic region, and practice type. Results: Of the 673 respondents (52.6% response rate), women were more likely to be divorced or separated (P=.001) and have fewer children (P <.001). In contrast to men, women reduced their work hours in conjunction with having more children (P<.001). Controlling for professional hours and hours spent in the operating room per week, type of practice, and years since completion of residency, women earned 15% to 20% less per year than men (P<.001). Men relied more on their spouse or partner for household responsibilities and child care (P<.001), and 34.3% of the women (compared with 7.1% of the men) spent 21 to 40 h/wk on household management (P<.001). Conclusion: Although male and female otolaryngologists receive equal training opportunities, women earn less money for performing similar jobs and have increased family responsibilities, which may effect their career advancement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-702
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


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