The other side of conflict: Examining the challenges of female orthopaedic surgeons in the workplace

Published:September 30, 2022DOI:


      • Female orthopaedic surgeons must navigate gender bias throughout their careers.
      • 373 female orthopaedic surgeons were anonymously surveyed about workplace conflict.
      • A majority reported experiencing workplace conflict due to gender.
      • Roughly 1 in 5 female orthopaedic surgeons would not choose this career again.



      As more women begin to enter the traditionally male-dominated field of orthopaedics, it is critical to examine their experiences in navigating gender-based conflicts in the workplace.


      An anonymous survey was distributed via a web link to approximately 1,100 members of Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS) and 1,600 members of Women in Orthopaedics (WIO) Facebook group, with an estimated response rate of 50% and 50% respectively and protocols to mitigate duplicate response. Questions included demographics and presented several workplace scenarios.


      Of the 373 respondents, 72% described experiencing some type of workplace conflict self-attributed to being female. Additionally, 8% reported either being forced out or leaving their previous job due to workplace conflict, leading to depression, anxiety, and burnout. 17% of respondents would not choose the same career again if given the opportunity.


      Workplace conflict diminishes a surgeon's career satisfaction and may ultimately contribute to burnout. Understanding the relationship between gender bias and orthopaedic surgery is essential in moving towards change, and addressing these issues will create a more positive working environment for female surgeons.


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