Despite increasing representation of women in veterinary medicine, gender differences persist in pay and attainment of senior and leadership positions. In academia, scholarly publication is a measure of productivity and is emphasized in the promotion process. This study aimed to analyze gender differences in the authorship of veterinary research articles to understand factors that could influence women's advancement and standing in academic medicine. We hypothesized that the proportion of women authors would increase between 1995 and 2015 and be similar to employment rates of women in academia, and that gender differences would exist in authorship by species, veterinary specialty area, and role (junior versus senior author). We examined 2,086 articles published in eight prominent veterinary journals in 1995 and 2015, determined the gender of first authors, corresponding authors, and senior authors, and collected article information including study design, species, and veterinary specialty area. The proportion of women as first and corresponding author increased significantly between 1995 and 2015, and in both years studied, women authored a larger percentage of articles than the reported percentage of women working in academia. In 2015, women were first authors of 60.0% (95% CI 56.9-63.0) of articles but accounted for only 38.3% of senior authors (95% CI 33.4-43.3). Female first authors were concentrated in articles pertaining to small animal, equine, and internal medicine disciplines and under-represented among articles pertaining to livestock or surgical specialties. The gender gap in the authorship of veterinary clinical research articles has improved dramatically over the past 20 years, although gender disparities persist.
- Academic affairs
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