Bridging the Gap: How Gender Representation in OBGYN Residency Programs Compares to Other Specialties


Georgette Sabbah, Pamela Sheffler, PhD, Daniel Tsai, Samar Nahas, MD, Mallory Stuparich, MD, Sadikah Behbehani, MD


The purpose of this study is to evaluate gender representation in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) residency programs, compare it to other specialties and assess for change in gender disparity over time.


Retrospective analysis. Data was collected from the AAMC Report on Residents 2018-2020, U.S. and Canadian Medical School Graduates. Information on the AAMC web page indicates the number of active male and female residents per ACGME-Accredited Specialty and Subspecialty. A series of Chi-square tests were conducted to test whether medical specialty is independent of gender in US and Canadian medical residents from 2018-2020 and to examine changes in gender proportion in these specialties over time.


Out of the 33 major specialties outlined by the AAMC, 7 specialties were female-dominated, 23 specialties were male-dominated, and 3 specialties showed an equal proportion of male-to-female active residents. Results from OBGYN demonstrate female dominance with 15% of residents being male and 85% female, p<0.001. This female predominance was also noted in other specialties such as Pediatrics (27% 73% p<0.001). In contrast, the majority of major specialties are male-dominated with Anesthesiology (66%, 34% p<0.001), Emergency Medicine (EM) (64%, 36% p<0.001), and Orthopedic Surgery (84%, 16% p<0.001). Gender representation between major specialties and their corresponding subspecialties was also compared. Gender proportion shifted for 15 subspecialties, with 12 subspecialties showing a shift from male specialty to female subspecialty predominance and 3 subspecialties showing a shift from female to male predominance. This includes Anesthesiology and EM, male-dominated specialties, showing subspecialties of Obstetric Anesthesiology (36%, 64%, p=0.007) and Pediatric EM (28%, 72%, p<0.001) being female-dominated. Family Medicine and Pediatrics, female-dominated specialties, showed their subspecialties of Sports Medicine (70%, 30%,p<0.001) and Clinical Informatics (71%, 29%, p=0.16), being male-dominated. Gender representation in major specialties and subspecialties was also analyzed over three years. In OBGYN, no gender disparity changes were noted, but Internal Medicine (p=0.048) and General Surgery (p<0.001) saw an increased proportion of female residents. In the female-dominant specialties, the only specialty to demonstrate a change was Dermatology where the proportion of males increased (p=0.024).


This study shows that the majority of specialties are male-dominated, with only 7 of the 33 major specialties being female-dominated. In addition, specialties that demonstrate female predominance still show male predominance in subspecialty training. Although there has been some increased representation by females from 2018-2020 in some specialties (Internal Medicine and General Surgery), the majority of specialties did not show a change over time. Interestingly, the biggest gender discrepancy was observed in OBGYN, more so than any other specialty. To bridge this gap, attempts to normalize male involvement in the care of OBGYN patients along with male advocacy in these fields is essential. In addition, historical gender disparities have precipitated an overall larger proportion of male physicians in the field today. Today, the proportion of males and females entering medical school has equalized, and female empowerment movements should be upheld to continue this progression across medical specialties.



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