Current status and solutions for gender equity in anaesthesia research

A. M. Flexman, S. K. Shillcutt, S. Davies, G. R. Lorello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Despite increasing numbers of women entering anaesthesia, they remain persistently under-represented within academic anaesthesia and research. Gender discordance is seen across multiple aspects of research, including authorship, editorship, peer review, grant receipt, speaking and leading. Women are also under-represented at higher faculty ranks and in department chair positions. These inequities are further magnified for women with intersectional identities, such as those who identify as Black, indigenous and women of colour. Several barriers to participation in research have been identified to date, including a disproportionate amount of family responsibilities, a disproportionate burden of clinical service, gender bias, sexual harassment and the gender pay gap. Several strategies to improve gender equity have been proposed. Increasing access to formal mentorship of women in academic medicine is frequently cited and has been used by healthcare institutions and medical societies. Senior faculty and leaders must also be conscious of including women in sponsorship and networking opportunities. Institutions should provide support for parents of all genders, including supportive parental leave policies and flexible work models. Women should also be materially supported to attend formal educational conferences targeted for women, aimed at improving networking, peer support and professional development. Finally, leaders must display a clear intolerance for sexual harassment and discrimination to drive culture change. Peers and leaders alike, of all genders, can act as upstanders and speak up on behalf of targets of discrimination, both in the moment or after the fact. Gender inequities have persisted for far too long and can no longer be ignored. Diversifying the anaesthesia research community is essential to the future of the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
Issue numberS4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • discrimination
  • diversity
  • equity
  • gender
  • physicians
  • research
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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