Trends in female representation in gastroenterology fellowships in the United States

Authors Morgan Starkey, Judy Daboul, Jacob Lang, Benjamin Hart, Obi Ekwenna.


Background Women have historically been underrepresented in gastroenterology (GI). Currently they compose only a small percentage of practicing GI physicians in the United States. Despite the rise in women graduating medical school, the percentage of current female GI fellows has remained low in recent years. In this study, we sought to examine the trends of female representation in GI over the past 10 years, to further elucidate the disparity, and to illustrate if any major changes have occurred. The findings were compared to those for other specialties to shed light on the relationship between them.

Methods This retrospective study used data on the gender of residents obtained through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Data Resource Books from 2009-2019. Chi-square statistical testing was used to compare representation percentages across groups. Significance was determined at the P<0.05 level, while P<0.01 was also reported.

Results Over a 10-year period from 2009-2019, an average of 33.6% of GI fellowship positions were filled by women, an increase of only 3.3% since 2009. Chi-square analysis of proportions across groups demonstrated a significantly lower percentage of female representation in GI in comparison to other specialties.

Conclusions Despite an increase in the number of women entering and graduating from medical school within the last decade, the number of female gastroenterologists remains a poor reflection of it. GI continues to have a significantly lower female representation than other specialties over the last decade.

Keywords Female representation, women in gastroenterology, gender bias, gastroenterology fellowship

Ann Gastroenterol 2022; 35 (6): 577-583