Gender differences were identified in experiences of the workplace and family responsibilities amongst Australian and New Zealand ophthalmologists.
To survey ophthalmologists regarding their balance of career, family and workplace experiences and to identify gender differences.
Online questionnaire sent to 1000 randomly selected Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Fellows in 2017.
The response rate was 28% (n = 282) with 192 males.
Main Outcome Measures
Gender differences were noted in working hours (59% of males worked greater than 40 hours a week vs 26% of females, P < 0.001) and frequency of private practice work (mean of 6.6 half‐day sessions per week for men vs 4.9 sessions for women, P < 0.001). Female ophthalmologists reported additional obstacles to career advancement including difficulty receiving mentorship (57% vs 40%, P = 0.027), travel difficulties due to family responsibilities (59% vs 34%, P < 0.001) and rigid timelines for promotion/tenure (38% vs 19%, P = 0.005). Female ophthalmologists delayed child‐bearing, with 59% becoming parents after fellowship training. Women spent more time child‐rearing (67% vs 8% of men cared for children >20 hours per week, P < 0.001). Female ophthalmologists were more likely to report experiencing discrimination (31% vs 8% of men, P < 0.001).
Conclusions and RelevanceFemale ophthalmologists worked fewer hours, mainly in the private sector, to fulfil their greater family commitments. Female ophthalmologists reported additional obstacles to career advancement and were more likely to report experiencing discrimination in the workplace.