Gender Disparities Affect Us All
By Ines C. Lin, MD
For National Women’s History Month, I would like to recognize some of our female leaders in the American Society of Surgery of the Hand: Dr. Marybeth Ezaki, former ASSH president, and Drs. Amy Ladd, Jennifer Wolf, Tamara Rozental, Jennifer Waljee, and Amy Moore, who represent the 13% of Bunnell Traveling Fellowships awarded to women. Drs. Wolf, Rozental, and Dawn LaPorte are members of ASSH Council. These surgeons are excellent role models of strong leadership and clinical work in hand surgery. There is certainly still a gap in female representation in hand surgery (17% of ASSH membership) compared to other surgical and medical specialties. I am encouraged that 4 of the above Bunnell recipients were funded in the last 10 years, thus suggesting a recent increase in female representation of this award that will hopefully be sustained in future years as junior surgeons progress.
As President of the Association for Academic Surgery, Dr. Caprice Greenberg, a surgical oncologist and health services researcher, gave an address titled “Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings” at the Academic Surgical Congress in 2017. She highlighted gender disparities in surgery and potential strategies for improvement. Importantly, these concerns should not be seen as a “female problem” but can also impact males and others. As Dr. Greenberg and others point out, men are often spouses to women, sons to mothers, brothers to sisters, and importantly, fathers to daughters and mentors to female mentees. Even if a male surgeon does not see a direct benefit of advocating for diversity and inclusion in surgery, the inclusion and advancement of women in surgery along all fronts benefits the entire group. Thus, it is with this sentiment in mind that I would like to thank the many male mentors — at Mayo, Penn, and other institutions– who have been my advocates and sponsors to help me achieve what I have thus far and positioned me to achieve more in the future.
Video of Dr. Greenberg’s address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHo1x2sk0gw
Greenberg CC. Association for Academic Surgery presidential address: sticky floors and glass ceilings. J Surg Res. 2017 Nov; 219.