Gender dynamics in education and practice of gastroenterology

Published:August 25, 2020DOI:

      Background and Aims

      With an increasing number of women joining procedural fields, including gastroenterology, optimizing the work environment for learning, teaching, and clinical practice is essential to the well-being of both physicians and their patients. We queried female and male gastroenterologists on their beliefs toward the endoscopy suite environment, as well as their experiences in learning and teaching endoscopic skills.


      We distributed a web-based survey to 403 gastroenterology fellows and practicing gastroenterologists at 12 academic institutions and 3 large private practices. We used univariate and multivariate analysis to compare the responses of female and male gastroenterologists.


      The overall response rate was 32% (n = 130); 54 women and 61 men completed the survey in its entirety and were included in the analysis (15 respondents did not meet the inclusion criteria). Baseline demographics were comparable between the groups. Overall, fewer women than men were trained using tactile instruction (41% vs 67%; P = .004). Of those trained using tactile instruction, 60.3%, with no gender differences, felt it was also important for endoscopic learning. More women reported experiencing gender bias toward themselves during training (57.4% vs 13.1%; P = .001) as well as in their current careers (50.0% vs 9.8%; P = .001). When queried on treatment of gastroenterologists by endoscopy staff, 75.9% of women reported that men were treated more favorably, whereas 70.5% of men felt that both male and female gastroenterologists were treated equally.


      Inequities exist with regard to the experience of men and women in gastroenterology, and specific challenges for women may have an impact on their career choices and ability to safely and effectively learn, teach, and practice endoscopy.

      Graphical abstract


      SD (standard deviation)
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      Linked Article

      • Don’t fix the women, fix the system: recognizing and addressing implicit gender bias in gastroenterology training and practice
        Gastrointestinal EndoscopyVol. 93Issue 5
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          Amidst the collective national reckoning on sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination inspired by the #MeToo and #Times Up movements, there has been increased scrutiny of the role of unconscious bias, gendered societal expectations, and harassment in creating and perpetuating gender inequity in medicine. Strikingly, in one of the first surveys exploring gender harassment at a major academic medical center, >92% of female physicians and faculty reported having experienced gender harassment (including feeling mistreated, slighted, or ignored because of their gender, being the recipient of sexist remarks, or being put down or treated with condescension because of their gender) during their training or practice.
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