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Amy Lu, Mona Lotfipour Camacci, Adeline Answine, Esther M Bowie, Erik Lehman, Ingrid U Scott, Seth Pantanelli; Gender Representation on Ophthalmic Society Leadership Boards. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):5491.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Women comprise 24% of ophthalmologists in the United States (US) but are under-represented in leadership positions, measured by academic rank and positions on ophthalmology journal editorial boards. In comparison, ophthalmology society boards have faster turnover of leadership positions and may predict leadership trends within ophthalmology. The purpose of this study was to investigate the gender composition of society board leadership and to compare the publication productivity and citation impact of male and female board members in order to understand the importance of these factors in society board leadership.
Faculty members representing each ophthalmic subspecialty were surveyed at a US academic ophthalmology department to determine 15 influential ophthalmology societies. The board of directors was identified from each society’s official website and the gender of each individual was recorded. Scopus database was used to determine each board member’s h-index (a measure of publication productivity and impact) and year of first publication. Each board member’s M-quotient, which accounts for lengths of academic careers, was calculated by dividing the h-index by the number of years since first publication.
Of the 206 ophthalmologists who comprise the leadership boards of 15 ophthalmology societies, 148 (71.8%) are male and 48 (28.2%) are female (Fig. 1). The proportion of immediate past presidents, current presidents, and president-elects that are female is 30.8%, 13.3%, and 30.8%, respectively. The h-index among men (median 26, mean 27.8±1.5) was significantly higher than that among women (median 17; mean 21.1±2.2, p=0.009) (Fig. 2A). However, there was no significant difference in M-quotients between men (median 0.90, mean 0.96±0.05) and women (median 0.86; mean 0.91±0.06, p=0.391) (Fig. 2B).
Gender representation on the board of directors of ophthalmology societies and among society presidents reflect the gender distribution of ophthalmologists in the US. While male members have higher h-indices than female members, the fact that the M-quotients were comparable between genders suggests the difference in h-indices is due to variations in academic career durations. Because the duration of leadership tenure on ophthalmology society boards is generally only 1-2 years, gender representation on society boards may be an early marker of the trajectory of gender representation in ophthalmology leadership.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
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