Over the past several decades, the number of women applying to medical school has increased significantly. However, parallel recruitment and retention of women in the field of neurosurgery continues to lag. The aim of this study was to identify the ratio and trend of female neurosurgery residents to the total number of residents during the past 7 years across all US neurosurgery residency programs.
The authors conducted a cross-sectional demographic study investigating the ratio of female neurosurgery residents to the total number of neurosurgery residents across US neurosurgical programs from 2016 to 2022. Using the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database, all neurosurgical residency programs in the US were collected. Data were further divided into postgraduate years 1–7 to dissect the data collection per residency year. One hundred fourteen programs were included in the study.
The number of female neurosurgery residents was 71 (29.8%) in 2022, 58 (25.2%) in 2021, 65 (27.9%) in 2020, 62 (27.3%) in 2019, 46 (21.4%) in 2018, 33 (15.2%) in 2017, and 34 (15.9%) in 2016. The trend line showed a significant increase using the Mann-Kendall test (p = 0.035). The total number of international medical graduate (IMG) female neurosurgery residents was 3 (4.2%) in 2022, 4 (6.9%) in 2021, 3 (4.6%) in 2020, 1 (1.6%) in 2019, 1 (2.2%) in 2018, 1 (3%) in 2017, and 2 (5.9%) in 2016.
The number of women matching into neurosurgery residency programs is modestly increasing, especially for IMG women. Future steps toward fewer gender disparities should focus on career advancement and leadership diversification in organized and academic neurosurgery.