Gender differences in Australasian ophthalmologists' experiences of the workplace

Neeranjali S. Jain, Hannah Kersten, Stephanie L. Watson, Helen V. Danesh-Meyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Importance

Gender differences were identified in experiences of the workplace and family responsibilities amongst Australian and New Zealand ophthalmologists.

Background

To survey ophthalmologists regarding their balance of career, family and workplace experiences and to identify gender differences.

Design

Online questionnaire sent to 1000 randomly selected Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Fellows in 2017.

Participants

The response rate was 28% (n = 282) with 192 males.

Methods

Confidential questionnaire.

Main Outcome Measures

Questionnaire responses.

Results

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-712
Number of pages7
JournalClinical & Experimental Ophthalmology
Volume47
Issue number6
Early online date20 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

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