Although explicit sex-based discrimination has largely been deemed unacceptable in professional settings, implicit gender bias persists and results in a significant lack of parity in plastic surgery and beyond. Implicit gender bias is the result of a complex interplay of cultural and societal expectations, learned behaviors, and standardized associations. As such, both male and female surgeons are subject to its influence.
A review of the literature was conducted, examining theories of gender bias, current manifestations of gender bias in plastic surgery and other fields, and interventions designed to address gender bias.
Multiple studies demonstrate persistent gender bias that impacts female physicians at all levels of training. Several institutions have enacted successful interventions to identify and address gender bias.
Explicit gender bias has largely disappeared, yet unconscious or implicit gender bias persists. A wide-scale commitment to addressing implicit gender bias in plastic surgery is necessary and overdue. Recommendations include immediate actions that can be undertaken on an individual basis, and changes that should be implemented at a national and international level by leaders in the field.