Gender Disparity Trends in Authorship of Hand Surgery Research

Published:February 25, 2022DOI:


      Despite an overall trend towards gender parity, women continue to remain underrepresented in surgical fields. Until recently, women’s representation in hand surgery literature was largely unexplored. The objective of this study was to examine how authorship gender trends among academic hand surgeons have evolved between 2006 and 2019.


      Original research articles published from 2006 to 2019 in 3 leading clinical hand surgery journals were extracted from PubMed. Publications with a full author first name were analyzed, and the gender of each author was assigned with the validated Genderize algorithm. Analyses were performed to evaluate authorship publication trends, unique authors, and research career productivity.


      From 2006 to 2019, 4,769 articles met the inclusion criteria, and the genders of 17,102 authors were identified. There were 2,848 (16.6%) female authors and 14,254 (83.4%) male authors. The proportion of female authors increased from 13.4% to 19.9% from 2006 to 2019. Similarly, female representation as first and senior authors increased significantly, from 10.9% to 20.1% and 7.6% to 14.2%, respectively. Of the 8,417 unique authors, 1,775 (21.1%) were women and 6,642 (78.9%) were men. Only 3.3% of these unique female authors published 5 or more papers during the study period. Among the 10 most frequently published authors for each gender, 18 of the 20 authors were surgeons.


      There has been substantial progress toward gender parity in academic hand surgery over the last 14 years, and the proportion of women publishing in leadership positions has increased.

      Clinical relevance

      Increased gender representation in medicine and research is important for both patients and providers, and these findings suggest that ongoing support and mentorship for women in academic careers should be a priority.

      Key words

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