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Invited Commentary
August 12, 2021

Status of Women in Ophthalmology in 2021—Different Year, Same Story?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, New York
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021;139(10):1078-1079. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.3035

In this issue, Fathy and colleagues1 report on the status of women as authors of editorials in 3 general ophthalmology journals with relatively high impact factors. Their findings, that the proportion of female editorialists is now approximately 30%, up from less than 20% from 2005-2009, appears to be encouraging news, at first glance. However, further analysis revealed that almost a third of the female editorialists were not ophthalmologists, while approximately 15% of the male editorialists were not ophthalmologists, and that women were more likely to be first, rather than senior, authors. Of note, this latter finding can be difficult to interpret across journals since the instructions for authors for some journals, for example, JAMA Ophthalmology, recently clarified that the first author of opinion pieces such as editorials typically should be an author with experience and expertise in the opinion being discussed, while other journals may include opinion pieces in which the last author is the author who was invited to write the opinion piece, with 1 or more other authors who are junior to that last author. Nevertheless, Fathy et al conclude that we have yet to attain parity between the sexes in this metric and call for development of strategies to improve this situation.

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