Women in Pediatrics: Progress, Barriers, and Opportunities for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Pediatrics. 2019 Nov;144(5):e20192149. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-2149. Epub 2019 Sep 23.


Gender bias and discrimination have profound and far-reaching effects on the health care workforce, delivery of patient care, and advancement of science and are antithetical to the principles of professionalism. In the quest for gender equity, medicine, with its abundance of highly educated and qualified women, should be leading the way. The sheer number of women who comprise the majority of pediatricians in the United States suggests this specialty has a unique opportunity to stand out as progressively equitable. Indeed, there has been much progress to celebrate for women in medicine and pediatrics. However, many challenges remain, and there are areas in which progress is too slow, stalled, or even regressing. The fair treatment of women pediatricians will require enhanced and simultaneous commitment from leaders in 4 key gatekeeper groups: academic medical centers, hospitals, health care organizations, and practices; medical societies; journals; and funding agencies. In this report, we describe the 6-step equity, diversity, and inclusion cycle, which provides a strategic methodology to (1) examine equity, diversity, and inclusion data; (2) share results with stakeholders; (3) investigate causality; (4) implement strategic interventions; (5) track outcomes and adjust strategies; and (6) disseminate results. Next steps include the enforcement of a climate of transparency and accountability, with leaders prioritizing and financially supporting workforce gender equity. This scientific and data-driven approach will accelerate progress and help pave a pathway to better health care and science.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration*
  • Academic Medical Centers / trends
  • Editorial Policies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Leadership
  • Pediatrics* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pediatrics* / trends
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Physicians, Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Women / trends
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration
  • Sexism / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexism / trends*
  • United States