Clin Surg | Volume 5, Issue 1 | Research Article | Open Access

Gender Inequality in Surgical Training Selection: A Systematic Review

Mwipatayi BP1,2*, Armari E3, Mwipatayi MT4, Wong J1, van Dam H5, Chetrit S6, Bennett L7 and Vaughan B8

1Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia
2School of Surgery, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
3Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Perth, Australia
4University of Buckingham Medical School, Hunter Street, Buckingham, United Kingdom
5Department of Plastic Surgery, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia
6Department of Medical Education, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia
7Executive Director Royal Perth Bentley Group, Perth, Australia
8Department of Clinical Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

*Correspondance to: Bibombe P Mwipatayi 

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Background: This study aimed to evaluate gender inequality within the Surgical Education and Training (SET) programmer selection process to identify barriers to gender equality and to outline solutions to bridge this divide. Methods: A systematic review was conducted using Medical Subject Headings, Emtree terms, subject headings, and key terms. Quality assessments were performed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program Qualitative Checklist and the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist. Since some studies included quantitative and qualitative data, we used the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool to assess this subcategory of papers. Results: The literature search produced 191 citations: 81 in PubMed, 23 in EMBASE, 40 in ERIC, 16 in PsycINFO, and 31 in Medline. The records identified through other sources (e.g., grey literature, cross-referencing, and Royal Australasian College of Surgeons abstracts) produced 35 additional citations. The full texts of a total of 156 non-duplicated potential articles were obtained for closer inspection, of which 13 were included in the final analysis. Lack of female leadership and surgical role models, passive bullying and gender discrimination, lack of positive mentorship and flexible surgical training programs were identified as potential barriers to gender equality in surgical training. Conclusion: Despite more females entering the medical profession, obvious gender imbalances persist across all surgical training fields. Gender inequality continues to exist amongst trainees. There is a paucity of publications addressing this topic and a prevailing inclination among females to make alternative career choices despite best efforts to make surgical training more appealing.


Mwipatayi BP, Armari E, Mwipatayi MT, Wonga J, Dam HV, Chetrit S, et al. Gender Inequality in Surgical Training Selection: A Systematic Review. Clin Surg. 2020; 5: 2862.

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