Women Underrepresented as Editors-in-Chief of Top Medical Journals

A cross-sectional study of top-ranked medical journals found that women represent only 21% of editors-in-chief overall, while the ratio varied widely, between 0% and 82%, depending on the medical specialty. The study was published Spetember, 8, 2021, in JAMA Network Open.

There were five categories with no women editors-in-chief: “dentistry, oral surgery and medicine; allergy; psychiatry; anesthesiology; and ophthalmology,” and only three where women outnumbered men: “primary health care, microbiology, and genetics and heredity.”

Lead author Ana-Catarina Pinho-Gomes, et al., wrote, “This study found that women are significantly underrepresented as editors in chief in comparison with men because they account for only 1 in 5 editors in chief of leading medical journals. …This poor representation of women as editors in chief and on editorial boards, in general, does not match the gradual increase in women’s representation in medicine over the past 6 decades.”

“A serious commitment to stem the deep-rooted issue of gender bias is required from all stakeholders, including members of editorial boards, publishers, authors, and academic institutions,” concluded the authors.


Pinho-Gomes A, Vassallo A, Thompson K, Womersley K, Norton R, Woodward M. Representation of Women Among Editors in Chief of Leading Medical Journals. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2123026. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.23026 Accessed September 27, 2021, at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2784023

Morton, WIll. “Study calls for more women in top journal roles.” AuntMinnie.com September 8, 2021. Accessed September 27, 2021, at https://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=imc&pag=dis&ItemID=133443