Regional distribution in female representation in US otolaryngology faculty

Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2023 Jun 21;8(4):832-838. doi: 10.1002/lio2.1099. eCollection 2023 Aug.


Objectives: To quantify the current proportion of women in otolaryngology at different levels of professorship and determine whether these proportions differ by US region.

Methods: Academic rank and gender at all ACGME-accredited otolaryngology programs in the United States were determined from departmental websites, Doximity, and LinkedIn from November 2021 to March 2022. Individuals were then further organized using US Census Bureau-designated regions.

Results: Among the 2682 faculty positions at 124 ACGME-accredited programs, women held 706 (26.3%) of these positions. Female representation was highest at the assistant professorship level, with women holding 286 (37.2%) positions out of a total 769. At the associate professorship level, women held 141 (27.6%) of the 511 total positions. The largest gender disparity is seen at the full professorship level; only 69 (13.6%) positions out of 508 were held by women. Out of every region and rank, only assistant professorship in the West had no significant difference in percentages of men and women (p = .710). Female representation of professors in the Northeast was significantly lower than that of our reference group (the South; β = -10.9, p = .020).

Conclusions: Otolaryngology has exhibited great progress in increasing female representation, with assistant professorship in the West reaching gender parity. However, the gender gap at other faculty levels still leaves much to be desired, particularly in senior ranks. The lack of otolaryngologists at senior ranks is detrimental to mentorship of junior faculty, residents, and medical students. Renewed efforts should be made to decrease the gender disparity in the South, Northeast, and particularly at the professorship level.

Keywords: diversity; female representation; gender inequity; otolaryngology faculty; workforce.