Examining differences in speaker introductions by gender at Ophthalmology Grand Rounds
Authors:Henry C. Chen, Claire A. Sheldon. University of British Columbia.
Author Disclosure Block:H.C. Chen: None. C.A. Sheldon: None.
Implicit gender bias is the unconscious association of specific traits or
qualities to a particular gender. Previous studies in medicine and language
have found differences in word choice and forms of address between males and
females in application letters, evaluations and introductions. A recent
research article examining whether professional titles were used in same and
mixed-gender introductions at Internal Medicine Grand Rounds elicited that
women introduced by men were less likely to be addressed by their professional
titles compared to men introduced by men. We decided to examine the same and
mixed-gender introductions at Ophthalmology Grand Rounds at a tertiary academic
Study Design: Single center, retrospective observational study
Methods: A retrospective observational study of Grand Rounds from September 2007 until February 2020 was performed at the University of British Columbia Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Each Grand Rounds was video-archived and consists of possibly at least one introduction of at least one physician with medical degree and/or scientist with PhD. Introductions were completed by physician organizers of grand rounds, by hosts of guest speakers and by varied members of the department. Exclusion criteria included no video archive, a speaker that did not have a medical degree, or a speaker that did not have a PhD. Statistically significant proportions between populations were determined using a two-proportion z-test.
Results: 324 Grand Rounds were listed on the video archives within the study period. 193 of the Grand Rounds fit the inclusion criteria, with 205 speakers. Overall, 26% of the speakers were female (53/205). Of these, 32.0% (17/53) of Grand Rounds introductions with a female speaker did not have an introduction or the speaker introduced themselves compared to 32.9% (50/152) with a male speaker. When introductions were made, female speakers were introduced by their professional title 78.6% (11/14) of Grand Rounds by females compared to 59.1% (13/22) by males (p=0.22). When male speakers were introduced, they were introduced by their professional title 87.5% (14/16) of Grand Rounds by females and only 59.3% (51/86) by males, which was statistically significant (p=0.03).
Conclusions: At our institution, our data illustrates that female speakers did not receive statistically significant fewer formal introductions. Awareness of subtleties in language and behavior allows for discussion about professionalism and potential implicit gender bias.