December 26, 2015

Penn study: Men with mustaches outnumber women in medical leadership roles

Researchers find quirky discovery in gender discrimination

Not only are women much less likely than men to hold leadership roles at academic medical institutions, but they're also more rarely found in those positions than males with facial hair above their upper lip, according to a recent University of Pennsylvania study.

The findings, published in an annual Christmas journal that focuses on more quirky medical studies, found that women were so poorly represented in head medicine jobs that even men with mustaches outnumbered them.

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania co-authored the study that looked at the gender - and facial hair - of 1,018 medical department leaders.

They discovered only 13 percent of those spots were held by women while 20 percent were held by men with mustaches, a distinction the researchers call rare.

Only five specialties - obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, dermatology, family medicine and emergency medicine - had more than 20 percent of leadership roles filled by women while 10 specialties had more than 20 percent of the jobs held by men with mustaches.

The researchers say the findings are consistent with other studies on gender discrimination in medicine.