Representation of Female Editors-in-Chief in Ophthalmology Journals: A Cross-Sectional Study
Authors: Jeff Park, Yuanxin Xue, Tina Felfeli
Author Disclosure Block: J. Park: None. Y. Xue: None. T. Felfeli: None.
Purpose: This study aims to evaluate the representation of female editors-in-chief (EiCs) in ophthalmology journals globally, and to compare the proportion of female EiCs between journals grouped by geographical regions, impact factor quartiles and subspecialties within ophthalmology.
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Methods: Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory and Scimago Journal & Country Rank were used to comprehensively identify ophthalmology journals indexed with the keyword, “ophthalmology.” All journals with active websites and EiCs were included. Journals were categorized according to the World Bank's 2021 classification of countries by income and region, and classified into ophthalmology subspecialties based on publication scope. Journal impact factors were obtained from Journal Citation Reports by Clarivate. The gender of each EiC was determined based on journal profiles and/or institutional websites. In the absence of profiles, gender was determined using a cut-off of 90% certainty on the name query feature of the gender application programming interface. The chi-square test was used to determine associations between gender and journal categories. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was reported.
Results: A total of 222 EiCs from 193 ophthalmology journals globally were identified. Amongst all EiCs, 17% (37) were female. The proportion of female EiCs in North America (16%; 11/68) was comparable to that of the rest of the world (17%; 26/154). Similarly, the proportion of female EiCs in high-income countries was 15% (23/153) compared to 20% (14/69) amongst journals originating from lower income countries. Journals classified into the subspecialty category of neuro-ophthalmology and paediatric ophthalmology had 50% (7/14) EiCs that were female compared to 14% (30/208) female EiCs identified in the other journals. In fact, females were nearly 6 times more likely than males to be EiCs in the paediatric/neuro-ophthalmology subspecialty journals (OR = 5.9, 95% CI 1.9-18.1; P = 0.002). The proportions of female EiCs in retina and glaucoma subspecialty journals were 18% (2/11) and 17% (1/6), respectively. There were no associations between the journal impact factor quartiles and the proportion of female EiCs.
Conclusions: There is a notable underrepresentation of females in EiC position in ophthalmology journals globally. The gender disparity may vary across different journal subspecialties but not based on journal impact factor. These findings suggest that there is room for improvement regarding representation of women in ophthalmology leadership positions and highlight the need for further research on these disparities.