Equity in neurosurgery: a worldwide survey of women neurosurgeons

George W. Koutsouras*, Lu Zhang, Nelci Zanon, Sandi Lam, Frederick A. Boop, Zulma Tovar-Spinoza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE The global neurosurgery workforce does not have a defined stance on gender equity. The authors sought to study and characterize the demographic features of the international women neurosurgery community and to better understand the perceptions and reflections of their neurosurgical careers. The objective was to define and characterize the workplace inequities faced by the global women neurosurgeon community. METHODS A 58-item cross-sectional survey was distributed to the global women neurosurgery community. The survey was distributed via an online and mobile platform between October 2018 and December 2020. Responses were anonymized. The authors utilized chi-square analysis to differentiate variables (e.g., career satisfaction) between various groups (e.g., those based on academic position). The authors calculated 95% CIs to establish significance. RESULTS Among 237 respondents, approximately 40% were between the ages of 26 and 35 years. Within their respective departments, 45% identified themselves as the only woman neurosurgeon in their practice. Forty-three percent stated that their department supported women neurosurgeons for leadership roles. Seventy-five percent of respondents were members of organized neurosurgery professional societies; of these, 38% had been involved in leadership roles. Almost 60% of respondents postponed their decision to get pregnant because of resident or work-related influences. CONCLUSIONS This survey provides international feedback for characterizing and understanding the experiences of women neurosurgeons worldwide. Future research should aim to understand all neurosurgeons' experiences throughout the pipeline and career life cycle of neurosurgery in order to improve the field of neurosurgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-558
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • gender equity
  • socioeconomics
  • women in neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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