The Roles of Gender and Demeanor in Perceptions of Female Surgeons

  • Hillary J. Braun University of California, San Francisco
  • Patricia S. O'Sullivan University of California, San Francisco
  • Marie N. Dusch University of Southern California
  • Mary H. McGrath University of California, San Francisco
  • Nancy L. Ascher University of California, San Francisco

Abstract

Societal expectations vary according to gender. Men are expected to be direct and assertive (“agentic”), while women are expected to be supportive and nurturing (“communal”). In professions that are traditionally male-dominated, such as surgery, agentic traits are expected and rewarded. This creates a double standard for female surgeons, who are simultaneously expected to be communal and agentic. We conducted a series of studies between 2006 and 2015 with the goal of characterizing the demeanor of female surgeons, how female surgeons perceive their demeanor, and how professional colleagues, trainees, and patients perceive their demeanor. We first conducted a series of focus groups with female nurses and surgeons, next administered a survey to female surgical trainees and staff surgeons, and finally conducted a series of survey-based studies to characterize the perceptions of trainees and colleagues. We found that there is still a mismatch between expected and actual demeanor for female surgeons, that female surgeons and trainees believe that their demeanor consists of both agentic and communal traits, and that communal surgeons are preferred by nurses, trainees, and colleagues, but not by patients.

Author Biographies

Hillary J. Braun, University of California, San Francisco

MD

Department of Surgery

Patricia S. O'Sullivan, University of California, San Francisco

DEd

Department of Surgery

Marie N. Dusch, University of Southern California

MD

Department of Orthopedic Surgery

Mary H. McGrath, University of California, San Francisco

MD, MPH

Department of Surgery

Nancy L. Ascher, University of California, San Francisco

MD, PhD

Department of Surgery

Published
2017-11-15
How to Cite
BRAUN, Hillary J. et al. The Roles of Gender and Demeanor in Perceptions of Female Surgeons. Archives of Psychology, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, nov. 2017. ISSN 2573-7902. Available at: <https://archivesofpsychology.org/index.php/aop/article/view/25>. Date accessed: 17 sep. 2019.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.