How to Fix the Gender Disparity in Pediatrics

Since Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to graduate from an American medical school in 1849, women have made many gains in the health care field. However, as Spector et al1 point out in this issue of Pediatrics, the battle for gender equity in medicine in general, and in pediatrics in particular, is far from over. The real questions for those of us who, like myself, have been in positions to make change are why have we not achieved more progress, and what exactly are we going to do about it?

Medicine is doing better than business, in which only 5 percent of companies had women chief executive officers in 2016,2 and nonmedical higher education, in which only 30% of colleges and universities had women at the highest level of leadership.3 Some progress is being made, as reflected in improvements in the trends toward pay equity, representation among the leadership of academic medical centers and other health care organizations, participation on journal editorial boards, research funding, and recognition by medical societies.

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