In these last years gender-based discrimination has become more subtle with microaggression instead of explicit physical or verbal assaults, making reporting not frequent, thus perpetuating these events. Institutions should offer a safe place where identify and safely report all episodes and should educate the surgical teams to recognize and condemn them. We are in charge, as surgical community, to educate the next generation of men and women surgeons to gender equity, which is a key factor in achieving excellence in surgery. Why? If not only because it is the right thing to do, it’s because at this time, women represent 50% of human capital in surgery but, despite this increase in numbers, there is not a proportional increase of women surgeons in leadership positions: the floor is still sticky and the glass ceiling remains unbroken1. Leaders have to be representative of the community they serve otherwise needs and requests from a specific group, will be ignored. It is everyone’s responsibility to invest in women’s professional skills and promote the capable ones, knowing that gender itself is not an absolute value, but it should not be an obstacle.
After the Seventies Revolution, gender equity has become again a popular issue with an increasing public activism not only in the surgical field, but so much ado and resonance can lead to a double effect: increase the awareness of the problem or, on the other side, surcharge people’s interest and even worst, women’s one. If I think about our young female colleagues, I fear that they don’t feel touched by gender-issues, they feel they’ll succeed because they’re excellent doctors and surgeons and, moreover, they don’t want to be part of a disadvantaged group, even if, at this time, they are. In 2021 gender-based discrimination affects women surgeons from training to career progression often becoming a visible barrier to reach leadership positions. Many associations of women surgeons have been created in the past years worldwide, and the possibility of instant communication through social media, made these communities not isolated anymore: we are growing and getting stronger. Different countries, same old stories. What can we do more?
Increase the awareness of an existing problem has been an essential step in the problem-solving process but the road to equity is still long. We need surgeons, Surgical Societies, Editorial Boards, Academic and Institutions to declare where they stand and to adopt policies that neutralize the effects of conscious and unconscious bias. No more “manels” at conferences, equal access to research grants and blinded selection in the publication process could lead to an immediate effect. There are so many excellent women surgeons worldwide, but it is difficult to see them promoted as their male peers: the lack of same-sex role models will deter young female surgeons from pursuing a surgical career, because they can’t imagine themselves becoming someone they don’t see in the real world.
We previously explored how AI could be the great equalizer in surgery with its applications in surgical education, mentorship or to improve work-life balance policies. In this special issue of AIS journal, we aim to give a wide range of perspectives from women surgeons and to explore how AI can help to break down gender-based biases. We are doing here another important step forward.
1. Giulia Capelli Università degli Studi di Padova, Padua, Italy.
2. Linda Ferrari Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Sant'Andrea, Rome, Italy.
3. Valentina Mari Azienda Ospedale Università Padova, Padua, Italy.
4. Janet Elizabeth Betsy Tuttle-Newhall East Carolina University, Greenville, United States.
5. Johanna M. Laukkarinen University Hospital of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.
6. Sharona B. Ross Digestive Health Institute, Tampa, United States.
7. Micaela Piccoli Department of General, Emergency Surgery and New Technologies, Baggiovara General Hospital, Modena, Italy.
8. Noor Ul Huda Maria Punjab Institute of Neurosciences, Lahore, Pakistan.
9. Sara Parini Azienda Ospedaliera Maggiore della Carita di Novara, Novara, Italy.
10. Alissa Jell Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München, Munich, Germany.
The list is arranged in no particular order and being updated.
Articles of special issue are free of charge for article processing.
For Author Instructions, please refer to http://aisjournal.net/pages/view/author_instructions
For Online Submission, please login at https://oaemesas.com/login?JournalId=ais&SpecialIssueId=ais211130
Submission Deadline: 31 May 2022
Contacts: Jane Lee, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org