A Check-Up on the Progress of Women Faculty in Academic Medicine

A new study by scholars at six medical schools examined the progress of women in obtaining faculty positions at academic medical centers over the past half century. As expected, the study found that historical changes in medical school expansion, medical education, and economics have shifted national gender curves at all academic ranks. Despite these nationwide changes, however, current trends do not predict achieving gender parity for four decades in some ranks, according to the study.

The study found that in 1966, women made up 6.4 percent of tenured faculty in academic medicine. By 2019, women were 25.8 percent of all tenured faculty. In 1966, women were 12.7 percent of all tenure-track faculty at academic medical centers, By 2019, women held 42.1 percent of tenure-track faculty positions.

The authors conclude that “our findings indicated that gender parity within academic ranks and tenure categories will not be reached for decades. As improving gender equality is crucial for the future of academic medicine, the current rate of change must be accelerated. Critical solutions, such as improved hiring and promotion and tenure practices, based on the value of female faculty, independent of volume, as well as better retention practices may help accelerate current rates.”

The full study, “Rank and Tenure Amongst Faculty at Academic Medical Centers: A Study of More Than 50 Years of Gender Disparities,” was published in the journal Academic Medicine. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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