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    Research Letter
    Medical Education
    July 9, 2020

    Assessment of Academic Achievement of Female Physicians in Japan

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Faculty of Medicine, Shimane University, Shimane, Japan
    • 2Postgraduate Clinical Training Center, Shimane University Hospital, Shimane, Japan
    • 3Okinawa Muribushi Project for Teaching Hospitals, Okinawa, Japan
    JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(7):e209957. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.9957

    Despite the global increase in the number of female physicians, there are still fewer women than men in key positions.1 In a US-based study,2 salaries of female physicians were significantly lower than those of male physicians, although there was no gender difference in income among nonphysician health care workers. Women who have worked longer face greater pay discrimination.2 A barrier to academic and financial advancement—known as the glass ceiling—still prevails globally for female physicians, and Japan is no exception.

    Because we used only Japanese National Basic School Survey data that had already been published by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, this study did not require institutional review board approval or informed consent. The institutional review board of Shimane University does not consider this type of study human research and therefore does not require its review.This was a survey study and conducted in accordance with American Association for Public Opinion Research guidelines. We analyzed Japanese government statistical data to elucidate trends in the gender distribution of university academic positions, including professors, associate professors, lecturers, and assistant professors, in medical schools and university-affiliated hospitals from 1980 to 2018. We also obtained statistical data from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare to trace the changes in the rate of female physicians registered with the Ministry from 1980 to 2016. Data analysis was performed in December 2019 with Excel for Mac statistical software version 16.16.22 (Microsoft Corp).