Representation of Women in The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Authorship and Leadership Positions

Ann Thorac Surg. 2020 May;109(5):1598-1604. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.07.069. Epub 2019 Sep 11.


Background: Recent years have shown a promising increase in women constituting the cardiothoracic (CT) surgery workforce and training positions. It remains unclear whether such change has been accompanied by parallel increases in academic achievement.

Methods: Online archives from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) 2015 and 2018 Annual Meetings were reviewed for female representation among oral abstract authors, nominated STS leadership positions, and The Annals of Thoracic Surgery (ATS) Editorial Board. Differences were assessed with χ2 analyses, Fisher's exact tests, and t tests.

Results: In 2015, 36 of 336 (10.7%) presenting and senior authors were women (P < .001 vs men): 22 (13.1%) were presenting authors, and 14 (8.3%) were senior authors (P < .001 vs men for both). Between 2015 and 2018, no increase was observed in female authorship, with 29 of 278 (10.4%) authorship positions filled by women (P < .001 vs men). In 2018, women filled 18 (12.9%) presenting and 11 (7.9%) senior author positions. This lack of change in representation over time held true in the adult cardiac, congenital, and general thoracic subspecialties. Nevertheless, there was a trend toward women more often occupying nominated STS leadership positions in 2018 (68 [12.3%] vs 40 [9.1%], P = .092). Similarly, there were significantly more female ATS Editorial Board members in 2018 than in 2015 (14 [15.7%] vs 4 [5.4%], P = .029).

Conclusions: Despite increased representation in the CT surgery workforce, women remain stagnant in their underrepresentation in academic authorship and leadership, particularly at the senior level. There remains ample room for improvement, further validating STS's recent emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Physicians, Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Societies, Medical*
  • Thoracic Surgery*
  • United States