Gender and the Balance of Parenting and Professional Life among Gynecology Subspecialists

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Gender and Sexuality | Health Services Research | Obstetrics and Gynecology


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To compare the parenting and career patterns of female and male gynecology subspecialists.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey study (Canadian Task Force classification II-3).

SETTING: Survey administered electronically in February 2015 to physician members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the American Urogynecologic Society.

PARTICIPANTS: All physician members of the 3 national gynecology subspecialty organizations listed above.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: There were 75 questions in 4 domains: demographics, mentoring issues, work-life balance, and caregiving responsibilities. Data were analyzed for survey sampling weights. Six hundred seventy-seven physicians completed the survey, 62% of whom were women (n=420; 20.2% response rate). Sixty-four percent were aged 36 to 55 years. Eighty-two percent of respondents had at least 1 child, and men had more children than women (42% of men had 3 or more children compared with 20% of women, p < .0001). Thirty-seven percent of women reported that career plans affected the decision to become a parent somewhat or very much compared with 23% of men (p=.0006). Eighty-three percent of women believed career affected the timing of becoming a parent somewhat or very much compared with 48% of men (p < .0001). In addition, 76% of female physicians perceived that having children decreased their academic productivity compared with 54% of male physicians (p < .0001). Most men and women believed having children had no effect or increased their clinical performance (76% and 65%, respectively), but this was significantly lower in women (p=.01).

CONCLUSION: Female gynecology subspecialists perceive that their career impacted decisions on parenting more frequently than their male counterparts. They were also more likely than men to report that having children had a negative impact on academic and, to a lesser extent, clinical performance. Increased support for combining childbirth and parenting with training and academic careers is needed.


Gender differences, Gynecologic surgical subspecialties, Parenting, Work–life balance, Work–life integration

DOI of Published Version



J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2018 Oct 30. pii: S1553-4650(18)31341-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2018.10.020. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of minimally invasive gynecology

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed