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November 2017

Pregnancy and the Surgeon—Too Many Opinions, Too Little Evidence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of General and Colorectal Surgery, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, Ireland
JAMA Surg. 2017;152(11):997-998. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.2892

The number of female medical graduates is increasing, with women accounting for greater than 50% of the medical workforce younger than 35 years of age in many countries, including the United States. This has translated into increasing numbers of female surgical trainees across the world, yet the numbers of female staff surgeons are proportionately lower. A gender gap continues to exist in many subspecialties of surgery, often considered a profession more suitable to men because of physically demanding working conditions and long hours not always conducive to family life. Many studies cite this perceived conflict as the principal reason a career in surgery is avoided by female graduates. At a time when surgery is faced with recruitment challenges globally,1 addressing factors that make surgery less appealing is critical if surgery is to continue to attract the best physicians, irrespective of sex.2

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