Gender Bias in Medicine: Does It Exist at AUA Plenary Sessions?

Urology. 2021 Apr;150:77-80. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2020.05.012. Epub 2020 May 18.


Objective: To determine if gender bias exists at the plenary sessions of the American Urological Association (AUA) annual conference by evaluating variations in the use of a professional title (PT) during speaker introductions at these sessions.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed video archives of all plenary sessions from the AUA annual conferences from 2017 to 2019. Videos that included both plenary introducer and speaker were included for analysis. The following data were collected: conference year, gender, and academic rank of "introducer" and of "speaker," and use of PT (ie, doctor) during speaker introduction. Variations in use of PT for introductions of speakers based on gender of introducer and of speaker were analyzed by chi-square tests.

Results: Four hundred and fourteen videos were reviewed; 195 (47%) with a composite 622 introducer/speaker pairs were reviewed and analyzed. Only 8.7% of introducers and 14.6% of speakers were female (Table 1). Overall, there was no difference in the use of PT for introductions of female vs male speakers (61.5% vs 60.8%, P = 0.90). However, male speakers were more likely to be introduced as doctor when introduced by a female vs a male (75.60% vs 59.60%, P = 0.04). Female speakers were equally likely to be introduced as doctor regardless of introducer gender.

Conclusion: Men represented the majority of presenters and speakers in the plenary session at AUA meetings. However, there is not a significant difference in the use of PT for AUA plenary speaker introductions based on gender.

MeSH terms

  • Congresses as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexism / statistics & numerical data*
  • Societies, Medical / organization & administration
  • Societies, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Urology / organization & administration
  • Urology / statistics & numerical data*