Factors Affecting Academic Promotion in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Canada Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: (1) To determine if women faculty members in departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology were less likely than men to achieve promotion; and (2) to assess gender differences in attitudes towards promotion. METHODS: Department chairs at the 16 medical schools in Canada were approached to participate in this study. A questionnaire was mailed to the obstetricians/gynaecologists in faculties of medicine at the 15 Canadian medical schools that agreed to participate. Likelihood of promotion for women and men was compared using survival analysis, controlling for other factors. Survival (event) time was the time in years between completion of residency and achieving promotion. RESULTS: The response rate was 72% (376/522). Overall, 37% of respondents were women, and 63% were men. The women respondents were younger than the men, with a mean age of 43.4 +/- 7.9 years compared to 52.8 +/- 8.9 years. Of those in an academic stream, 39% of women (29/75) and 62% of men (90/145) had attained senior academic ranks. Completing residency more recently was associated with a higher likelihood of promotion to Assistant Professor (hazard ratio [HR], 1.05; P <0.001). The likelihood of promotion to Professor was lower for women than for men (HR, 0.40; P = 0.05). Having a mentor was associated with a higher likelihood of promotion to Professor (HR, 2.33; P = 0.002). Women were more likely to perceive barriers to promotion, such as family care responsibilities (P <0.001). CONCLUSION: Independent of the respondent's gender, recent completion of residency and having a mentor were the most significant factors increasing the likelihood of promotion in Canadian medical school departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. As women were found to be less likely than men to achieve promotion to Professor, mentoring and strategies that focus on facilitating promotion for women should be encouraged to ensure there are academic leaders in obstetrics and gynaecology in the future.


  • Wise, Michelle R
  • Shapiro, Heather
  • Bodley, Janet
  • Pittini, Richard
  • McKay, Darren
  • Willan, Andrew
  • Hannah, Mary E

publication date

  • February 2004