Prevalence of gender-based and sexual harassment within orthopedic surgery in Canada Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background

    Gender-based and sexual harassment are prevalent in the medical profession. We aimed to quantify the prevalence of such behaviours within orthopedic surgery in Canada and to identify any risk factors for experiencing gender-based or sexual harassment in the workplace.


    In collaboration with the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, we conducted a Canada-wide email questionnaire survey in June 2019 of all orthopedic surgeons registered with the Canadian Orthopaedic Association and the Canadian Orthopaedic Residents' Association. The development of our questionnaire was informed by a review of the literature and published surveys on gender-based and sexual harassment, and consultation with researchers in intimate partner violence. We conducted a multivariable logistic regression analysis to identify risk factors for harassment.


    Of the 1783 surgeons invited to participate, 465 returned the questionnaire (response rate 26.1%); the response rate was 48.1% for females and 22.1% for males. Overall, 331/433 respondents (76.4%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 72%-80%) and 315/423 respondents (74.5%, 95% CI 70%-78%) reported having experienced at least 1 occurrence of gender-based and sexual harassment, respectively. Women were significantly more likely than men to have experienced both gender-based and sexual harassment (odds ratio [OR] 16.2, 95% CI 4.8-54.0, and OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.2-4.0, respectively). Respondents who identified as nonwhite were significantly less likely than those who identified as white to have experienced gender-based harassment (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.3-0.99).


    The prevalence of gender-based and sexual harassment is high within Canadian orthopedic surgery, and women are at highest risk for experiencing harassment. The results may provide the impetus for orthopedic societies to develop action plans and to re-examine and enforce policies to address these damaging behaviours appropriately.

publication date

  • January 27, 2022