The gender gap in high-impact psychiatry journals

Acad Med. 2011 Aug;86(8):946-52. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182222887.


Purpose: The number of women in medicine generally and in psychiatry specifically has increased considerably during the past 40 years, but the lack of advancement of women in academic medicine is still concerning. This study explores the changes in female authorship patterns in three high-impact general psychiatric journals.

Method: The authors categorized articles published in 1994 and 2007 by the Archives of General Psychiatry, The American Journal of Psychiatry, and The British Journal of Psychiatry according to the characteristics of the psychiatric research and the gender of each author for all articles.

Results: Overall, the percentage of female authors increased from 24.6% in 1994 to 33.6% in 2007. The authors found the greatest increases in the percentages of female authors in the areas most relevant to an academic career-first authorship (from 17.1% in 1994 to 35.3% in 2007) and original research articles (from 18.4% in 1994 to 42.7% in 2007)-and in articles on the topic with the most growth over the same time frame-neuroimaging (from 14.7% in 1994 to 43.2% in 2007). The percentages of female authors of editorials rose from only 13.5% in 1994 to 26.2% in 2007. In 2007, women made up only 25% of the editorial boards of the journals under study (up from 16% in 1994).

Conclusions: Despite considerable gains, women still are underrepresented in academic psychiatry, including in leadership positions. Ongoing efforts and interventions are required to promote further advances and gender equity.

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • Bibliometrics*
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Psychiatry*
  • Sex Distribution