Gender-Specific Conferences and Symposia: A Putative Support Structure for Female Physicians

Nicole C. Woitowich*, Stephanie L. Graff, Mamta Swaroop, Shikha Jain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


To determine the impact of gender-specific conferences or symposia as it relates to medical professional development. Materials and Methods: An online survey instrument was distributed nationally through social media and shared by respondents. The survey assessed participants' demographics, attendance at gender-specific conferences or symposia, motivations or barriers to attendance, and perceived benefits of attendance. Results: Of 792 respondents, 34% had attended a conference or symposia for women in medicine, whereas 66% had not. Attendees were significantly more likely to hold a leadership position (68% vs. 43%, p < 0.0001), an academic faculty position (74% vs. 56%, p < 0.0001), and have received a professional accolade within the past year (42% vs. 28%, p < 0.0001). Nonattendees were significantly more likely to be the primary caregiver for children or seniors (64% vs. 56%, p = 0.042). Respondents indicated that an interest in discussion topics, a sense of community, and growth of professional network were key motivators in attendance. The majority of respondents indicated that attendance improved their self-advocacy, self-image, and leadership skills. Of those who did not attend, 51% were unaware of such conferences or symposia. Those who were aware, but unable to attend, cited lack of time as the major barrier to participation. Conclusions: The results of this study provide preliminary data surrounding gender-specific conferences or symposia for women in medicine and highlight opportunities for increased engagement. While not causative, attendees share attributes of professional success and report personal and professional benefits. Lack of awareness and access to child/family care are likely major barriers to participation, which can be addressed through strategic initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1136-1141
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • physician support structures
  • women in medicine
  • women physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Gender-Specific Conferences and Symposia: A Putative Support Structure for Female Physicians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this