2014 Volume 234 Issue 3 Pages 221-227
During the past three decades, the participation of women in medicine has increased from 10.6% (1986) to 19.7% (2012) in Japan. However, women continue to be underrepresented in the top tiers of academic medicine. We highlight gender inequality and discuss the difficulties faced by female surgeons in Japanese academic surgery. Using anonymous and aggregate employment data of medical doctors at Kyoto University Hospital from 2009 and 2013, and a commercially-published faculty roster in 2012-2013, we compared gender balance stratified by a professional and an academic rank. The numbers of total and female doctors who worked at Kyoto University Hospital were 656 and 132 (20.1%) in 2009 and 655 and 132 (20.2%) in 2013, respectively. Approximately half the men (n = 281) were in temporary track and the rest (n = 242) were in tenure track, but only one fifth of women (n = 24) were in tenure track compared to 108 women in temporary track (p < 0.0001) in 2013. There were three female associate professors in basic medicine (8.1%), two female professors in clinical non-surgical medicine (3.9%) and one female lecturer in clinical surgical medicine (2.3%) in 2012. Fewer female doctors were at senior positions and at tenure positions than male doctors at Kyoto University Hospital. There were no female associate and full professors in surgery. The status of faculty members indicates the gender differences in leadership opportunities in Japanese academic surgery.