FIGURE B3-2 Proportion of women in academic medicine, by educational stage and rank.

ADAPTED FROM: Association of American Medical Colleges (2005). Women in US Academic Medicine: Statistics and Medical School Benchmarking,

Reasons for Differences

Brown and colleaguesb note that a number of factors may contribute to women’s slower advancement, but a pipeline problem is not among them. They conclude that the supply of women graduating from medical schools is adequate and that “the culture of academic medicine, not the numbers of available women, drives the lopsided numbers.” Cultural issues include a lack of high-ranking female role models; gender stereotyping that works to limit opportunities; exclusion from career development opportunities; differences in workplace expectations for men and women; social and professional isolation; and gender differences in the amount of funding, space, and staff support provided. Those factors have been found to adversely affect female faculty members’ career satisfaction and advancement. In addition, traditional constructs of reward and hierarchy within departments have been found to impede advancement of women faculty because they are inherently gender-biased. Bickel et al. point out “medicine tends to over-value heroic individualism” with the result that “women will not ‘measure up’ as easily as men do.”c


bA Brown, W Swinyard, and J Ogle (2003). Women in academic medicine: A report of focus groups and questionnaires, with conjoint analysis. Journal of Women’s Health 12(10):999-1008.


cJ Bickel, D Wara, BF Atkinson, LS Cohen, M Dunn, S Hostler, TRB Johnson, P Morahan, AH Rubenstein, GF Sheldon, and E Stokes (2002). Increasing women’s leadership in academic medicine: Report of the AAMC project implementation committee. Academic Medicine 77(10):1043-1061.

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