There seems to be a subtle gender bias prevailing against women, especially when they are required to make career choices in the field of medical surgery that inhibits free-flowing analysis of pros , while accentuating the cons, that invariably steers them to opt out of surgery. There has always been an overriding influence of surgery as a career choice among men, nicknamed as "old boys' club", which also implies possession of the 'right surgical personality', which women, are thought not to possess. This opinion is published along with the results of the survey in the April issue of Archives of Surgery
Debra A. Gargiulo, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Vermont, Burlington conducted a survey with 298 Vermont physicians and medical students. 64% of men and 53 percent of women showed an inclination towards a career in surgery. The survey also elicited response from the participants to select three stumbling blocks, to their surgical career, in the order of priority.
The survey results are as follows:
46.7 percent of female medical students vs. 20.4 percent of males perceived sex discrimination in surgery
Among all respondents, 21.6 percent of men and 4.4 percent of women were deterred by the diminishing rewards of surgery
49 percent of men and 28.0 percent of women cited workload considerations
66.7 percent of men vs. 47.8 percent of women chose family concerns
83.3 percent of women and 76.5 percent of men worried about lifestyle during residency
40 percent of women and 21.6 percent of men were deterred by their view of the "surgical personality"
22.2 percent of women and 3.9 percent of men were discouraged by the perception of surgery as an "old boys' club"
To quote the opinion of the authors, "However, our results also suggest that there exists a male culture in surgery that needs to be confronted because it is a significant factor deterring women from a career in surgery ... Surgery remains a 'macho field'. Surgeons need to critically assess the nature of their interactions with students and provide an environment more conducive to women."