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An Exploration of Gender Bias Affecting Women in Medicine

The Contributions of Health Care Management to Grand Health Care Challenges

ISBN: 978-1-80117-801-3, eISBN: 978-1-80117-800-6

Publication date: 6 December 2021


Women in medicine face barriers that hinder progress toward top leadership roles, and the industry remains plagued by the grand challenge of gender inequality. The purpose of this study was to explore how subtle and overt gender biases affect women physicians, physician leaders, researchers, and faculty working in academic health sciences environments and to further examine the association of these biases with workplace satisfaction. The study used a convergent mixed methods approach. Sampling from a list of medical schools in the United States, in conjunction with a list of each state's medical society, the authors analyzed the quantitative survey responses of 293 women in medicine. The authors conducted ordinary least squares multiple regression to assess the relationship of gender barriers on workplace satisfaction. Additionally, 132 of the 293 participants provided written open-ended responses that were explored using a qualitative content analysis methodology. The survey results showed that male culture, lack of sponsorship, lack of mentoring, and queen bee syndrome were associated with lower workplace satisfaction. The qualitative results provided illustrations of how participants experienced these biases. These results emphasize the obstacles that women face and highlight the detrimental nature of gender bias in medicine. The authors conclude by presenting concrete recommendations for managers endeavoring to improve the culture of gender equity and inclusivity.




The authors wish to thank the deans and state medical societies who kindly sent our survey to their members, our colleagues who provided reviews of an earlier iteration of this manuscript, and the anonymous reviewers for their time and commitment.


Stephenson, A.L., Diehl, A.B., Dzubinski, L.M., McErlean, M., Huppertz, J. and Sidhu, M. (2021), "An Exploration of Gender Bias Affecting Women in Medicine", Hefner, J.L. and Nembhard, I.M. (Ed.) The Contributions of Health Care Management to Grand Health Care Challenges (Advances in Health Care Management, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 77-95.



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