Challenges to Professional Success for Women Plastic Surgeons: An International Survey

Abstract

Background

Female plastic surgeons face specific challenges in their careers that impact lifestyle and professional choices.

Objective

The authors sought to delineate these specific issues further through means of an anonymous survey and to suggest areas for improvement.

Methods

In August 2017, a link to an online email questionnaire via SurveyMonkey.com was sent to 398 women members of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, which included questions on demographics, surgical training, practice characteristics and preferences, leadership and professional activities, marriage and childcare, financial status, workplace sexism and sexual harassment and surgeon attitudes.

Results

A total of 138 female plastic surgeons responded to the survey for a response rate of 34.7%. Critical issues most cited by respondents included work-life balance and childcare responsibilities, sexual harassment and the lack of gender parity at meetings.

Conclusions

Plastic surgery training programs, institutions and societies should acknowledge the additional challenges that female surgeons face. The greatest areas for improvement include the balance of work and family responsibilities, addressing the prevalence of sexual harassment and improved representation at scientific meetings.

Level of Evidence IV

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Catherine Foss, Executive Director of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) from 1998 to 2020, for her unwavering support and encouragement of women plastic surgeons everywhere.

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This paper is dedicated to the memory of Violeta Skorobac-Asanin, MD PhD (1970-2020).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nina S. Naidu.

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Dr. Naidu is a shareholder of Ideal Implant, Incorporated and a consultant for Establishment Labs. The other authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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Naidu, N.S., Patrick, P.A., Bregman, D. et al. Challenges to Professional Success for Women Plastic Surgeons: An International Survey. Aesth Plast Surg (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-021-02171-0

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Keywords

  • Women plastic surgeons
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Gender differences in surgery
  • Gender differences
  • Gender bias
  • Sexual harassment