The number of women authors in the surgical literature has increased during the past 20 years.
Randomly selected issues of odd-year journals in Archives of Surgery and Annals of Surgery from January 1, 1985, to December 31, 2003, were reviewed. We determined the gender of each author and reported trends in the occurrence of women authors over time.
The percentage of women authors has increased over time and parallels the percentage of women faculty in academic surgery positions. A much higher percentage of women authors than men authors are nonphysicians. The trend for increased authorship by women over time was significant in Archives of Surgery.
Although the number of women first authors is low, their contributions to the field of surgery should be acknowledged, and efforts to provide women with the resources and opportunities to conduct research and publish their findings should be a focus for surgical departments looking to increase their research productivity.