This article was originally published here
Am J Ophthalmol. 2021 Jun 5:S0002-9394(21)00314-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2021.05.021. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: To assess the gender distribution of major ophthalmology society awards.
DESIGN: Retrospective, observational study.
METHODS: The study population included award recipients from nine ophthalmological societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS), American Glaucoma Society (AGS), American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS), American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), American Uveitis Society (AUS), Cornea Society, and North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (NANOS). A gender-specific pronoun and photograph of each award recipient were extracted from professional websites to assign their gender. Main outcome measures were gender distribution by award society, year (1970-2020), type (lectureship or not), category (achievement, education, research contribution, research item, international member achievement, public service – global health, service to society), and training level.
RESULTS: Out of 2,150 recipients for 78 awards, 1,606 (74.7%) were men and 544 (25.3%) were women. The proportion of women recipients increased from 0% in 1970 to 33.2% in 2020 (P<0.001). Women representation varied within each society (P<0.01), with ASCRS having the highest percentage (40.8%). Women received 11.0% of awards accompanied by a lecture. Women received significantly greater research-related awards than achievement or service awards. Awards for trainees and early-career ophthalmologists had a greater proportion of women (39.8%) than the rest of the awards (21.5%) (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Overall women received awards (25.3%) at a higher prevalence than the average 1970-2020 American gender distributions of ophthalmologists. However, women are still underrepresented in many award categories and subspecialties.