Women physicians underrepresented in American Academy of Neurology recognition awards

Neurology. 2018 Aug 14;91(7):e603-e614. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006004. Epub 2018 Jul 20.


Objective: To investigate representation by gender among recipients of physician recognition awards presented by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

Methods: We analyzed lists of individual recipients over the 63-year history of the AAN recognition awards. Included were awards intended primarily for physician recipients that recognized a body of work over the course of a career. The primary outcome measures were total numbers and proportions of men and women physician award recipients.

Results: During the period studied, the proportion of women increased from 18% (1996) to 31.5% (2016) among AAN US neurologist members and from 18.6% (1992) to 35% (2015) in academia, and the AAN presented 323 awards to physician recipients. Of these recipients, 264 (81.7%) were men and 59 (18.3%) were women. During the most recent 10-year period studied (2008-2017), the proportion of women increased from 24.7% (2008) to 31.5% (2016) among AAN US neurologist members and from 28% (2009) to 35% (2015) in academia, and the AAN presented 187 awards to physician recipients, comprising 146 men (78.1%) and 41 women (21.9%). Although it has been more than 2 decades since the proportion of women among US neurologist members of the AAN was lower than 18%, 1 in 4 AAN award categories demonstrated 0% to 18% representation of women among physician recipients during the most recent decade. Moreover, for highly prestigious awards, underrepresentation was more pronounced.

Conclusion: Although the reasons why are not clear, women were often underrepresented among individual physician recognition award recipient lists, particularly for highly prestigious awards.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Awards and Prizes*
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neurology / organization & administration*
  • Neurology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Women / history
  • Physicians, Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Publications / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Sex Ratio
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States