Gender diversity in medicine can improve physician-patient interactions. Although the number of female medical students has risen to almost 50%, the relative number of female orthopaedic residents remains low. The reason for so few female applicants to orthopaedic programs remains in question.
A web survey was distributed to medical students and interns in Israel in 2015 and again in 2018. The survey included demographic data and a questionnaire. The questionnaire explored reasons for not choosing orthopaedics as a specialty and exposure to musculoskeletal medicine in medical school.
A total of 371 responses were received, 143 in 2015 and 228 in 2018. The distribution of gender, marital status, student status, and medical schools were similar. Men were more inclined to choose orthopaedics in both years (P=0.004, P=0.044). The major reason for not choosing orthopaedics was “it’s just not interesting.” However, in 2018, there were a significant number of male responders who wanted a more balanced work-life profession (P=0.047).
Women have given many possible reasons for not choosing orthopaedic surgery, such as wanting a better work-life balance, perceptions of physical strength needed, a closed “boy’s club,” not enough exposure, and lack of female role models, yet most of them replied the field is “just not interesting.” The authors suggest in concordance to the literature that having more opportunity for exposure and more female role models would increase gender diversity in orthopaedics.
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