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February 26, 2007

Promoting the Career Development of Women in Academic Medicine

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(4):323-324. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.4.323

It has been known for at least a decade that female medical school faculty members are less likely to achieve academic promotion than are male faculty members with similar durations of faculty appointment.1 According to cohort studies, there is reason to believe that sex-based disparities in promotion continue.2 The percentage of female faculty who hold the rank of full professor has risen slowly, despite dramatic increases in the numbers and percentages of female physicians. For example, the percentage of female medical school faculty members holding full professor rank was 7% in 1978, 9% in 1990, and 15% in 2005. About 30% of male faculty held the rank of full professor consistently over this time.1,3 The extremely slow rise of women up the academic ladder likely accounts, at least in part, for the fact that only 11% of department chair positions were held by women in 2005.3

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