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Study Finds Work-Family Integration Issues Uniquely Impact Female Orthopaedic Surgeons

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2021

Dallas – A presentation at the 2021 AAHKS Annual Meeting reported that deficiencies in work-family integration appear to uniquely impact female orthopaedic surgeons.

The rigorous training, lifestyle, and professional obligations associated with a career in orthopaedic surgery often conflict with family life. Lead author Danielle Y. Ponzio, MD, and co-authors Courtney D. Bell, MD, Alexandra I. Stavrakis, MD, Hope E. Skibicki, DO, Miranda Czymek, BS, Qudratullah Qadiri, BS, Alvin C. Ong, MD, Zachary D. Post, MD, and Meghan Bishop, MD, set out to identify differences in work-family integration between female and male orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S.

Researchers collected anonymous survey data from 347 orthopaedic surgeons (153 female, 194 male) regarding demographics, work, family, and career and work-family balance satisfaction. Differences between males and females were identified.

Female surgeons were younger than males (mean 41.1 vs. 50.1 years) and earlier in their careers. Opportunities for consulting (7.8% vs. 31.4%), course faculty positions (19% vs. 39.2%), and academic titles (30.7% vs. 47.4%) were significantly less common among females. There was a significant income disparity, with females earning an average of $300k-$400k vs. $400k-$500k for males.

Females were more likely never married or married at a later age.  Females were more likely to have no children, require fertility treatment, and have children after completing medical training. Female surgeons reported increased responsibility in parenting and household duties. Overall, 94.5% of surgeons were satisfied with their career. However, work-family balance satisfaction was 72.3% in females and 82.1% in males.

In conclusion, this study highlights deficiencies in work-family integration that appear to uniquely impact female orthopaedic surgeons. Female surgeons delay starting a family, more frequently require fertility treatments, carry more responsibility at home, have fewer academic and leadership roles, earn lower incomes, and are less satisfied with work-family balance relative to males. As increasing numbers of young female orthopaedic surgeons enter the workforce, it is critical to narrow this gender gap and to attract, support, and retain women as successful orthopaedic surgeons. The challenge for the orthopaedic community is to address the existing discrepancies by creating strategies to improve work-family integration and an environment where women can achieve their personal and professional goals concurrently.

Abstract: https://meeting.aahks.org/wp-content/uploads/2021-FINAL-Printed-Program-Book-pages-23.pdf


About the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons

Established in 1991, the mission of AAHKS is to advance hip and knee patient care through education and advocacy. AAHKS has a membership of over 4,000 surgeons and other hip and knee health care professionals.


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