The prevalence of gender-based and sexual harassment in the field of orthopaedic surgery in Canada is high. Previous research in other jurisdictions has identified the most common perpetrators of harassment to be senior surgeons or directors. We aimed to identify the most frequent perpetrators of gender-based and sexual harassment in orthopaedic surgery in Canada.
We conducted a Canada-wide survey of all orthopaedic surgeons registered with the Canadian Orthopaedic Association and the Canadian Orthopaedic Residents’ Association. The development of our 116-item questionnaire was informed by a review of the literature and other published gender-based and sexual harassment surveys. Descriptive analyses, including frequency counts with associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs), are reported for all data.
Of the 465 survey respondents, the median age was 43 years (interquartile range, 35 to 59) and respondents were most commonly male (72%), White (81%), married (77%), and staff orthopaedic surgeons (68%). Peers were identified as the most common perpetrators of gender-based harassment (55%, 95% CI, 50 to 59), and patients were identified as the most common perpetrators of sexual harassment (48%, 95% CI, 43 to 52). Women were more likely to report direct supervisors or patients as the perpetrators of gender-based and sexual harassment, and men reported peers as the most common perpetrators.
Orthopaedic surgery peers and patients are the most commonly reported perpetrators of gender-based and sexual harassment in Canada. The results of this study may be helpful to institutions in designing and focusing educational programs and/or policies and procedures to help reduce harassment incidents in the training and work environment.