Representation of women amongst speakers at the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society annual meeting: a retrospective analysis from 2007 to 2019

  • Gianni R. LorelloEmail author
  • Arun Parmar
  • Alana M. Flexman
Reports of Original Investigations



Despite an increase in the proportion of women entering the field of anesthesiology, women remain underrepresented in academic and leadership positions. Speaking at national and international conferences is an important component of academic visibility and promotion. To date, the gender representation of speakers at the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society (CAS) annual meeting has not been examined.


We conducted a retrospective analysis of the representation of women amongst speakers at the CAS annual meeting between 2007 and 2019, inclusively. We also examined the representation of women in different subspecialty subject area symposia at each CAS annual meeting, and the gender composition of meeting symposia panels (i.e., groups of two or more speakers in a session) at the meeting.


Overall, 28.5% (358/1,256) of speaker slots included women, similar to their representation in Canadian clinical anesthesiology over the study period (26.7%), and increasing significantly over the study period. Women were more highly represented as obstetric anesthesia speakers at the CAS annual meetings, with lower representation in cardiothoracic anesthesia, transplant anesthesia, and critical care symposia. Of the 311 meeting symposia, 146 (46%) were composed of all men speakers.


The representation of women speakers at the CAS annual meeting was similar to the representation of women in the anesthesiology workforce in Canada over the study period. Gender representation varied widely by subspecialty symposia, subject area, and women were absent from nearly half of all symposia at the CAS annual meetings, which are potential areas of future investigation and intervention.

Représentation féminine parmi les conférenciers du Congrès annuel de la Société canadienne des anesthésiologistes: une analyse rétrospective de 2007 à 2019



Malgré une augmentation de la proportion de femmes décidant de poursuivre une carrière en anesthésiologie, celles-ci demeurent sous-représentées dans les postes universitaires et de leadership. Le fait de présenter lors de congrès nationaux et internationaux est une composante importante de la visibilité et de l’obtention de promotions dans le milieu académique. À ce jour, la représentation hommes/femmes des conférenciers prenant la parole dans le cadre du Congrès annuel de la Société canadienne des anesthésiologistes (SCA) n’a pas été étudiée.


Nous avons réalisé une analyse rétrospective de la présence des femmes parmi les conférenciers des congrès annuels de la SCA tenus de 2007 à 2019 inclusivement. Nous avons également examiné la représentation des femmes lors des divers symposiums de surspécialité de chaque congrès annuel de la SCA, et la composition hommes/femmes des panels des symposiums (c.-à-d. des groupes de deux conférenciers ou plus dans une séance) lors des congrès.


Globalement, 28,5 % (358/1256) des créneaux de conférence incluaient des femmes, un chiffre qui reflète bien leur représentation en anesthésiologie clinique au Canada pour la période à l’étude (26,7 %); ce chiffre augmentait significativement au cours de la période étudiée. Les femmes étaient plus représentées parmi les conférenciers en anesthésie obstétricale lors des congrès annuels de la SCA, mais moins représentées en anesthésie cardiothoracique, en anesthésie pour transplantation et dans les symposiums de soins critiques. Sur les 311 symposiums de congrès, 146 (46 %) étaient composés exclusivement de conférenciers masculins.


La représentation de femmes conférencières lors des congrès annuels de la SCA était semblable à la représentation des femmes en anesthésiologie au Canada au cours de la période étudiée. La représentation hommes/femmes variait considérablement d’un symposium de surspécialité à un autre et les femmes étaient absentes de près de la moitié de tous les symposiums lors des congrès annuels de la SCA, ce qui constitue des domaines potentiels d’étude et d’intervention futures.


Author contributions

Gianni R. Lorello contributed to the study concept and design, primary data collection, analysis and data interpretation, manuscript drafting, and critical revision of the manuscript for intellectual content. Arun Parmar contributed to the primary data collection and to verification, analysis, and interpretation of data. Alana M. Flexman contributed to the study concept and design, primary data verification, statistical analyses, and critical revision of the manuscript for intellectual content.


We acknowledge Ms. Debra Thomson, Executive Director of the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society, for assistance in obtaining these data.

Conflicts of interest


Funding statement


Editorial responsibility

This submission was handled by Dr. Hilary P. Grocott, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.

Supplementary material

12630_2019_1524_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (93 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 92 kb)


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Pain MedicineToronto Western Hospital, University Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiaThe University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.The Wilson CentreTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of AnesthesiologyVancouver General HospitalVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and TherapeuticsThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  6. 6.Toronto Western HospitalUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada

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