Female surgeons at a large academic medical center perform less complex surgical procedures than their male counterparts, according to a new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). This study, published in Annals of Surgery, is one of the first to measure the problem of underemployment among female surgeons in the United States, which can affect compensation, career advancement and job satisfaction.
Only about one in five surgeons practicing in U.S. is female. Unemployment is virtually nonexistent among surgeons, but many female surgeons, as well as professional women in other fields, experience underemployment — the underuse of skills — according to the Federal Reserve Bank. “Women in surgery talk among themselves about how they may be perceived as less confident or competent, and for those reasons they may have less opportunity to do exciting and challenging cases,” says Cassandra Kelleher, MD, a pediatric surgeon at MGH and senior