Rank and Tenure Amongst Faculty at Academic Medical Centers: A Study of More Than 50 Years of Gender Disparities

Acad Med. 2022 Jul 1;97(7):1038-1048. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004706. Epub 2022 Jun 23.


Purpose: To investigate progress toward gender equality in academic medicine through a longitudinal analysis of gender parity among faculty at medical schools.

Method: The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of Association of American Medical Colleges Faculty Roster data on gender, tenure status, and academic rank of faculty in basic science (BSc) and clinical science (CSc) departments from 1966 to 2019. They expressed data as whole numbers and percent female. A trend analysis projected time to gender parity across rank and tenure categories, and cross-tabulation analysis revealed the relative odds of females being in a rank and tenure position relative to males.

Results: A 12-fold increase in the number of faculty occurred from 1966 to 2019, driven largely by increases in non-tenure track faculty. Female tenured and tenure track numbers increased at consistent rates (121 and 174 per year; P < .001). Female non-tenure track rates mirrored those for males, both changing in 2000. Odds ratios in 2019 for BSc and CSc females to be in tenure track versus non-tenure track positions compared with males were 0.83/0.98 and to be tenured were 0.63/0.44. Odds ratios in 2019 for BSc and CSc females to be full professors versus assistant or associate professors compared with males were 0.55/0.42. BSc assistant and associate professor percent female rates increased linearly from 1966 to 2019, while full professor rates increased in 1986. Transition points between periods of linear change were seen later in CSc departments (1977, 1980, 1985, 1994). Best fit line models indicated gender parity will be reached for BSc/CSc faculty in 2034/2023, 2047/2033, and 2065/2053 for assistant, associate, and full professors, respectively.

Conclusions: These findings suggest large historical changes in medical school expansion, medical education, and economics have shifted gender curves at all academic ranks. To achieve gender parity, additional national changes are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Career Mobility
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools, Medical
  • United States