HealthDay News — Female providers are underrepresented in leadership roles in obstetrics and gynecology, results of a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology suggest.

To characterize the cohort of clinicians who may become senior leaders in the obstetrics and gynecology field, Lisa Hofler, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted an observational study in which they collected data from U.S. obstetrics and gynecological programs accredited in 2012 through 2013. The investigators examined the gender and subspecialty of faculty in leadership roles.

Women accounted for 20.4% of chairs, 36.1% of vice chairs, and 29.6% of division directors in obstetrics and gynecology departmental administrative leadership roles. Female providers accounted for 31.9% of fellowship directors, 47.3% of residency directors, and 66.1% of medical student clerkship among educational leaders.

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Among the subspecialties, the greatest proportion of department chairs was maternal-fetal medicine faculty (38.2%), followed by specialists in general obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinologists, and gynecological oncologists (21.8%, 15.6%, and 14.7%, respectively).

One-third of chairs (32.9%) were male maternal-fetal medicine specialists. Among division directors, the highest and lowest representations of women were seen in family planning (80%) and reproductive endocrinology and infertility (15.8%), respectively. The specialty of general obstetrics and gynecology had the largest proportion of female chairs, vice chairs, residency program directors, and medical student clerkship directors.

“This study demonstrates that women are significantly underrepresented even in mid-level department leadership roles,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Hofler L et al. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2015; doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000628