Gender distribution of speakers on panels at the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) annual meeting



Speaking invitations are used by faculty promotion committees as evidence of external recognition. However, women are underrepresented as speakers at specialty society conferences despite the rise in women physicians. The purpose of this study was to estimate to what extent the gender of session conveners is associated with the gender distribution of invited speakers at SAGES meetings.


A retrospective audit of annual SAGES meeting programs during 2009–2018 was performed. All invited panel speakers, defined as faculty delivering a prepared oral presentation in a session under the organization of one or more chairs, were identified. The gender of speakers and chairs/co-chairs was determined. Hands-on courses, paper sessions, military symposia, mock trials, and jeopardy sessions were excluded. We compared the proportion of all-male panels in sessions with all-male conveners versus sessions with at least one woman convener. Statistical analysis was performed using Chi-square and t tests.


There were 3405 speakers and 459 panels identified. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, 2836 invited speakers on 402 panels were analyzed. Women represented 15% of all speakers, increasing from 9 to 19% (2009 to 2018). This reflects the rise in the proportion of women overall members (11% in 2010 to 19% in 2018). The proportion of panels with at least one woman convener increased from 12 to 58%. All-male panels represented 40% of all panels (n = 163) and their proportion significantly decreased over time from 50 to 31% (p trend < 0.000). Sessions with all-male conveners had 52% all-male panels, while sessions with at least one woman convener had 19% all-male panels (p < 0.001).


The proportion of women invited speakers at the annual SAGES meeting has significantly increased over time. All-male convener sessions were more likely to convene all-male speaker panels. Including a woman chair/co-chair increased the number of women speakers and is a successful strategy to achieve gender balance in conference planning.

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Correspondence to L. S. Feldman.

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Dr Liane S. Feldman has a Medtronic Educational grant and is on the Merck investigator-initiated research and advisory board outside of the submitted work and has no conflicts of interest. Dr. Daniel B. Jones is on the intragastric balloon advisory board of Allurion and is a consultant for Intuitive outside of the submitted work and has no conflicts of interest. Dr Lawrence Lee has an investigator-initiated research grant from Johnson & Johnson outside of the submitted work and has no conflicts of interest. Drs Teodora Dumitra, Maude Trepanier, Gerald M. Fried, and Carmen Mueller have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Dumitra, T.C., Trepanier, M., Lee, L. et al. Gender distribution of speakers on panels at the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) annual meeting. Surg Endosc 34, 4140–4147 (2020).

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  • Surgery
  • Women
  • Speakers
  • Conferences
  • Gender