Heisler published in AJOG; response from Dee Fenner

An article published by Christine Heisler, MD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology garnered a responding editorial from legend in the field Dee Fenner, MD (ob-gyn department chair at the University of Michigan).

Heisler’ article Has a critical mass of women resulted in gender equity in gynecologic surgery? examines gender bias and gender discrimination in gynecologic surgery, including in areas of gender role expectations, sexual harassment, surgical education and training, wage gaps, advancement and leadership, and more. 

In the responding editorial, Fenner bolsters findings of Heisler’s article:

Heisler et al in their thoughtful and thorough review article set out to answer the question Has a critical mass of women resulted in gender equity in gynecologic surgery?” Their hypothesis is that in comparison with other surgical specialties, where women continue to be a minority, in obstetrics and gynecology, we should see equity in salaries and leadership positions and acceptance and advancement of female surgeons by patients, peers, and colleagues and that the specialty should be more family friendly than male-dominated surgical fields. Unfortunately, their findings across all these domains show that female gynecologists continue to experience gender bias and that long-held gender stereotypes of men and women have not significantly changed, despite the increase of women in our field. Thus, gender equity is far from being achieved.”

Fenner goes on to outline the ways a lack of diversity in medicine affects patients, practitioners, and institutions, and offer some next steps for improving representation in medical specialties. Read “Equality, Equity, and Justice” in AJOG’s November 2020 issue.