Background: Female authorship opportunities have lagged behind those of their male counterparts, with gender disparities most prominent in surgical specialties. Our objective was to determine trends of female first, last, and first or last authorships across time and surgical specialties and whether female first or last authorship was associated with journal impact factor. Study Design: A systematic review of EMBASE (OvidSP), MEDLINE (OvidSP), and Cochrane (Wiley) databases from inception to December 22, 2017 was performed to identify all randomized controlled trials evaluating minimally invasive surgery vs classical surgical techniques. The primary end point was female first, last, and first or last authorship, with gender determined via an online search strategy and verified via Genderize.io. Secondary end point was journal impact factor, recorded from Clarivate Analytics InCites. Results: There were 9,321 articles identified and 489 met our inclusion/exclusion criteria. Sixty-eight (13.9%) first and 60 (12.3%) last female authors were identified. A positive linear trend for female first (R2 = 0.35, Cochran-Armitage test for trend, p < 0.001), last (R2 = 0.30, p < 0.001), and first or last authorships (R2 = 0.40, p < 0.001) over time was identified. This trend was observed across surgical specialties except for orthopaedics. The highest calculated percentages of female first, last, and first or last authorships by the year 2017 were seen in obstetrics and gynecology (33.8%, 32.0%, and 43.8%, respectively), all significantly lower than the corresponding percentage of the female obstetrics and gynecology workforce in 2017 (57.0%). Neither female first nor last authorship positions were associated with journal impact factor. Conclusions: A significant increase in female first and last authorship in randomized controlled trials of minimally invasive surgical techniques in the last 3 decades has been observed, but continued efforts to bridge this gender gap are sorely needed.
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