Prior studies have shown that roadblocks exist for women to achieve higher career levels in plastic surgery. The authors evaluate female representation as lecturers, panelists, and moderators at national and regional plastic surgery meetings.
The annual meetings between January 2014 and January 2019 for 12 national and regional plastic surgery societies were included in this study. Data regarding sex of speakers were extracted from meeting programs. Binomial distribution analysis was used to compare female representation at meetings as compared with female representation among plastic surgeons. Analysis of variance with Tukey post hoc analysis was used to evaluate for differences in female representation among regions and subspecialties.
Females comprised 14.8% of speakers, including instructors, moderators, and panelists, at all included plastic surgery meetings. There has not been a significant increase in the representation of females at plastic surgery meetings in the past 5 years (P = 0.08). Five of 12 societies had significantly lower female representation as speakers than expected by the proportion of female plastic surgeons (P < 0.05). American Society for Craniofacial Surgeons had significantly lower representation as compared with other subspecialty meetings (P < 0.01), and Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons had significantly lower representation among regional meetings (P < 0.05).
Female representation among plastic surgery residents and faculty has increased, yet women remain disproportionately underrepresented on the podium at educational meetings. Providing women the opportunity to serve as speakers, moderators, and panelists at meetings will ultimately enhance the diversity of our plastic surgical leadership.