Leadership Ambitions in Plastic Surgery: DoWomen and MenWantTheSame Thing?
Farah Sayegh, MD, Yasmina Zoghbi, MD, Christopher Bellaire, BA, Peter Taub, MD, MS.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
BACKGROUND: Gender disparities exist within many medical and surgical specialties. Although there is an increasing number of women pursuing careers in plastic surgery, they are still underrepresented in principal positions of leadership. Studies on these rates of inequality are extensively published in the literature. However, this phenomenon cannot be fully appreciated until we ascertain whether females and males share the same desires and aspirations in advancing to these top leadership roles. The present study examines the relationship between gender and career aspirations within the field of plastic surgery.
METHODS: A survey exploring career aspirations and gender was disseminated among plastic surgery colleagues. A propensity score matching algorithm was utilized to generate matched male and female groups. The algorithm matched respondents by age, race, and whether they worked in academia or private practice. The following relationships were then analyzed utilizing chi-squared tests: gender and desire to occupy administrative or leadership roles, gender and desire for positions of greater responsibility, and gender and desire to advance to a higher academic rank.
RESULTS: The survey garnered 360 responses, of which there was a disproportionate percentage of male respondents (male=303, female=57). A propensity score matching algorithm was utilized to two create matched cohorts of females and males. After propensity score matching, each gender cohort had 56 respondents. The majority of the matched respondents had a current role in private practice (females=76.69%, males= 60.71%, p=0.10). Interestingly, there was no significant difference in current roles in administration/leadership (females= 44.64%, males=53.57%, p=0.45). Approaching statistical significance, males had a greater desire to occupy administrative or leadership roles compared to females (females=21.43%, males=39.29%, p=0.051). The male cohort also had a greater proportion of respondents that desired greater career responsibilities (females=26.79%, males=44.64%, p=0.072) and a greater proportion that desired advancement to a higher academic rank (females=16.07%, males=28.57%, p=0.16).
CONCLUSIONS: The utilization of a propensity score matching algorithm enabled the simulation of randomization in a context where real randomization is not feasible. Our results suggest that females may desire top leadership positions less than their male counterparts within plastic surgery. However, these results did not reach statistical significance, and as such, larger-scale studies are required in order to investigate this relationship further.
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