The Podiatric Medical Profession: A Gender Comparison

Brittany A. Brower, Michelle L. Butterworth, Mary E. Crawford, Meagan M. Jennings, Zhengqi Tan, Jonathan D. Moore, Sumihiro Suzuki, Brian B. Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of women in podiatric medicine and surgery has increased steadily over the past 4 decades; however, there appears to be a large and continued gender gap with respect to representation in academic medicine and other positions of power. National and state level organizational data were obtained from multiple podiatry professional societies to evaluate the rate at which women achieved leadership roles within the podiatric profession over time. A secondary questionnaire was also developed and electronically mailed to 8684 doctors of podiatric medicine to help capture additional leadership information and to provide further insight into the trends observed. The response rate was 26% (2276/8684). Female representation in academia, research/publications, most leadership positions, and board certifications has increased over time, but at a slower rate than the number of women entering the profession. We observed a decreasing trend of females completing fellowships, speaking at national meetings, becoming residency directors, and receiving American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons– and American Podiatric Medical Association–sponsored grants/awards. Based on the survey results, female podiatric physicians were more likely to be single, have fewer children, spend more time in a clinical setting, be less satisfied with work, and experience higher work stress levels than their male colleagues. Of the female respondents, 73% described experiencing gender discrimination at some point in their career, and 42% reported experiencing sexual harassment, compared with only 6% and 5% of men, respectively. There continues to be a gender gap in leadership roles, which may be explained partially by work/life balance issues, gender discrimination, and other issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1007
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • 1
  • authorship
  • board certification
  • equality
  • gender trends
  • leadership
  • podiatry
  • women
  • women in surgery


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