Background: Participation in scientific meetings yields multiple benefits, yet participation opportunities may not be equally afforded to men and women. The authors' primary goal was to evaluate the representation of men and women at five major academic plastic surgery meetings in 2017. Secondarily, the authors used bibliometric data to compare academic productivity between male and female physician invited speakers or moderators.
Methods: The authors compiled information regarding male and female invited speakers from meeting programs. Bibliometric data (h-index, m-value) and metrics of academic productivity (numbers of career publications, publications in 2015 to 2016, career peer-reviewed publications, first and senior author publications) for invited speakers were extracted from Scopus and analyzed.
Results: There were 282 academic physician invited speakers at the five 2017 meetings. Women constituted 14.5 percent. Univariate analysis showed no differences in h-index, m-value, or numbers of total career publications or first and last author publications at the assistant and associate professor ranks, but higher values for men at the professor level. A model of academic rank based on bibliometric and demographic variables showed male gender significantly associated with increased probability of holding a professor title, even when controlling for academic achievement markers (OR, 2.17; 95 percent CI, 1.61 to 2.92).
Conclusions: Although the impact of women's published work was no different than that of men among junior and midcareer faculty, women constitute a minority of invited speakers at academic plastic surgery meetings. Sponsorship is imperative for achieving gender balance within plastic surgery and to ultimately create more diverse and effective teams to improve patient care.