Handing the Microphone to Women: Changes in Gender Representation in Editorial Contributions Across Medical and Health Journals 2008-2018

Document Type : Perspective


1 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

2 Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA


The editorial materials in top medical and public health journals are opportunities for experts to offer thoughts that might influence the trajectory of the field. To date, while some studies have examined gender bias in the publication of editorial materials in medical journals, none have studied public health journals. In this perspective, we studied the gender ratio of the editorial materials published in the top health and medical sciences journals between 2008 and early 2018 to test whether gender bias exists. We studied a total of 59 top journals in health and medical sciences. Overall, while there is a trend of increasing proportion of female first authors, there is still a greater proportion of male than female first authors. The average male-to-female first author ratio during the study period across all journals was 2.08. Ensuring equal access and exposure through journal editorials is a critical step, albeit only one step of a longer journey, towards gender balance in health and medical sciences research. Editors of top journals have a key role to play in pushing the fields towards more balanced gender equality, and we strongly urge editors to rethink the strategies for inviting authors for editorial materials.



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Volume 9, Issue 7
July 2020
Pages 269-273
  • Receive Date: 26 October 2019
  • Revise Date: 07 January 2020
  • Accept Date: 08 January 2020
  • First Publish Date: 01 July 2020