Gender Equity

Did You Know?

  • Female surgeons earn 8% less annually than male surgeons after controlling for specialty, age, faculty rank, and metrics of clinical and research productivity.
  • Pay disparity begins on entry into the workforce. Although men and women graduate with the same amount of student debt, women are paid less and will typically pay off only 33% of their student loans after 5 years compared with 44% for men.
  • Pay disparity widens over time. Women earn about 90% of what men are paid until age 35. After age 35, median earnings for women are typically 82% of what men are paid. This not only affects salaries, but it also penalizes a woman’s retirement.

Current Statistics

  • The number of women who are general surgeons has consistently increased over the past 30 years.
  • Women constitute 8% of Professors, 13% of Associate Professors and 26% of Assistant Professors of Surgery.
  • Currently there are 18 women Chairs of Surgery Departments in the United States.
  • The 100-year-old American College of Surgeons (ACS):
    • Five women have chaired the ACS Board of Governors.
    • Four women have received the ACS Distinguished Service Award.
    • Three women will have served as ACS President as of 2017.
    • Two women have been named ACS Division Director.
    • Two women surgeons have chaired the ACS Board of Regents since October 2012.
    • A woman has yet to serve as the ACS Executive Director.

Why AWS is Important


Pay Equity

Read the AWS 2017 Statement on Gender Salary Equity

Sexual Harassment

Read the AWS 2017 Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment

What Can I Do?

Pay Equity Toolkit

ACS Recommendations for Further Advancement external link

ACS Strategies for Identifying and Closing the Gender Salary Gap in Surgery external link

Initiate a Dialogue

Send a copy of the 2017 AWS Gender Salary Equity Statement to your chair of surgery.

Dear XXX,

As I am sure you are aware a number of recent studies and articles in the press have highlighted the continued salary inequity that exists between male and female physicians.

The attached statement was prepared in collaboration with the Association of Women Surgeons and formed the basis for a white paper recently accepted by the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

As a department chair and a leader in surgery you will understand the need to advocate for the fair treatment of all surgeons. Therefore the issue of salary equity and transparency is a concern to all in our department .

I would be more than happy to discuss this further at your convenience.

In kind regard,

Your name FACS

Support Opportunities for Women Surgeons

The AWS Foundation was founded in 1994 in order to fund fellowships, research awards and scholarships that advance the careers of women surgeons.

The advancement in our mission to provide opportunities for the educational and professional growth of women in surgery starts with you. Please consider a contribution to the AWSF today to help us work on pay equity. We thank you on behalf of the many women who have directly benefited from the generosity of our benefactors.

Join AWS, a Community of Support

The Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) is committed to supporting women surgeons at various stages in their career – from medical school through retirement. Join AWS and we will work to make a difference for you. AWS offers our members programs and services to: ENGAGE current and future women surgeons to realize their professional and personal goals. EMPOWER women to succeed. EXCEL in those aspirations through mentorship, education and a networking community that promotes their contributions and achievements as students, surgeons and leaders.