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The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gender Distribution of Emergency Medicine Journal Authors

Here at sheMD, we believe in the importance of practicing Evidence-Based Medicine. We believe the same principles apply to discussing Gender and Medical Education. Therefore, we are bringing you an entire Journal Club series! Our series will focus on foundational and new literature within the gender and medicine space.  

Today, we will be discussing the article entitled, The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gender Distribution of Emergency Medicine Journal Authors. 

Why is this article important? 

  • Emergency medicine has a notable gender gap in publications, which is a factor in career advancement in academic medicine. 

Article Summary

What they looked at: 

  • This study assessed the authorship gender distribution of publications before and during the COVID-19 pandemic through a cross-sectional study.

How they measured things: 

  • Articles published in Annals of Emergency Medicine and Academic Emergency Medicine from March 2019 to February 2021 were included, aside from the annual scientific assembly. 

  • Gender categorization was done utilizing faculty profiles and gender pronouns.

What were their outcomes: 

  • 33.2% of authors were female, while 62.9% were male overall (n=5828). 

  • Among the last author position, a space often valued for tenured positions and promotions, the difference was more pronounced.

  • However, there was no significant difference in authorship before and during the pandemic.

Why do we care about this article?

What does this mean? 

  • This is the first study in emergency medicine to assess gender distribution of authorship in publications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • There is a significant difference between male and female authors in publications in emergency medicine. 

How does this apply to us?

  • There is significant gender misrepresentation in emergency medicine academic medical research, as evidenced by publications and first and last authorships.  Involvement in research is a large component of career advancement and a possible contributor to lack of female representation of leadership in medicine. 

Take Home Point 

  • There is an opportunity for improvement in gender disparities in medicine through research publications and support of female authorship. 

Similar Articles 

Jens Peter Andersen, Mathias Wullum Nielsen, Nicole L Simone, Resa E Lewiss, Reshma Jagsi (2020) Meta-Research: COVID-19 medical papers have fewer women first authors than expected eLife 9:e58807.

Sauder M, Newsome K, Zagales I, Autrey C, Das S, Zagales R, Bilski T, Elkbuli A. Gender Distribution of First and Senior Authorship Across Most Cited Studies Within the Top Ten Surgical Journals From 2015-2020: Cementing Women Academic Surgery Representation. J Surg Res. 2022 Sep;277:7-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2022.03.019. Epub 2022 Apr 19. PMID: 35453056.

Wehner MR, Li Y, Nead KT. Comparison of the Proportions of Female and Male Corresponding Authors in Preprint Research Repositories Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(9):e2020335. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.20335

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