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Obstacles to Promotion? Values of Women Faculty about Career Success and Recognition

Buckley, Lenore M. MD, MPH; Sanders, Karen MD; Shih, Margaret; Kallar, Surinder MD; Hampton, Carol MMS; Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia Campus

Academic Medicine:
Educating Physicians: Research Reports

Purpose: To assess attitudes of female faculty about career progress, resources for career development, and values related to academic success and recognition.

Method: In 1997, the authors surveyed all faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and its associated Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Results: Of 918 faculty, 567 (62%) responded to the survey; 33% of the respondents were women. Compared with men, women faculty were less likely to be tenured or at the level of professor, spent more time in clinical activities, had less time for scholarly activity, and reported slower career progress. Women were more likely to report that promotion and tenure criteria had not been reviewed with them. Significant differences were found between female physicians and non-physician faculty; female physicians reported the least time for scholarly activities and poorest understanding of promotion and tenure criteria. When the authors asked faculty how they valued certain indicators of career success, women were less likely to value leadership than were men. Female physicians were less likely to value scholarship and national recognition as indicators of their career success.

Conclusion: This survey found important differences in career progress of male and female faculty, with women reporting less time for career development. In addition, there were differences in values related to career success and recognition, which were most pronounced for female physicians. These differences may have an important impact on promotion for women in general and particularly for female physicians.

Author Information

Dr. Buckley is associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics. Dr. Sanders is associate professor of internal medicine and associate chief of staff for education, Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Ms. Shih is a student in the MD/PhD program. Dr. Kallar is professor of anesthesiology and medical director, Ambulatory Surgery Center. Ms. Hampton is associate dean for faculty and instructional development. All are at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Richmond.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Buckley, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1200 Broad Street, Box 980102, Richmond, VA 23298-0102; e-mail: 〈〉.

© 2000 Association of American Medical Colleges