Gender imbalance in gynecologic oncology authorship and impact of COVID-19 pandemic Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • ObjectiveDespite increased participation of women in academic medicine in recent decades, gender disparities persist. The gender gap in authorship and editorial boards in gynecologic oncology, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, have not been recently evaluated. We examined gender representation and the impact of COVID-19 on authorship and editorial boards of two major peer-reviewed gynecologic oncology journals.MethodsWe conducted a bibliometric analysis of original articles published in Gynecologic Oncology and the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, comparing the most contemporary 5-year period (2016–2020) to single years in the two prior decades (1996, 2006). To assess the early impact of COVID-19, we compared publications from May 2020–April 2021 to 2019. Editorial boards were analyzed for gender composition. First names, pronouns, and institutional photographs were used to determine gender.ResultsThere were 3022 original articles published between 2016 and 2020, 763 in 2006, and 203 in 1996. Gender was identified for 91.3% of first authors (3641 articles) and 95.6% of senior authors (3813 articles). Men comprised the majority of the editorial boards in 2021 at 57% and 61% for Gynecologic Oncology and the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, respectively. Men were overrepresented as senior authors across all study periods: 93% in 1996, 77% in 2006, and 58% in 2016–2020. Over time, representation of women as first and senior authors increased (7% in 1996, 42% in 2016–2020, p<0.00001). There was no immediate impact of the early pandemic on gender distribution of authorship.ConclusionsDespite greater representation of women over time as authors in gynecologic oncology journals, there remains gender disparity in senior authorship and editorial board representation. This presents an opportunity for the academic publishing community to advocate for deliberate strategies to achieve gender parity. Although no impact of the early COVID-19 pandemic was found, this requires ongoing surveillance.


  • Mah, Sarah Jill
  • Makkar, Mallika
  • Huang, Kathy
  • Anpalagan, Tharani
  • Reade, Clare
  • Nguyen, Julie My Van

publication date

  • May 2022