DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.777 ISSN:

875 Women in Surgery: A Qualitative Analysis of Tweets Engaged in the Gender Disparity Discourse

C Lowe
  • Surgery



This study was conducted to identify the main areas of gender bias affecting current female-identifying surgeons through posts shared on a social media platform, Twitter, and to use this analysis, alongside contemporary literature, to suggest how social media can help progress the movement towards gender parity in surgery.


The study analysed five Twitter hashtags used to engage in the gender-bias discourse: #ILookLikeASurgeon, #MedBikini, #WomenInSurgery, #OperateWithRespect, and #HammerItOut. Phase One involved the manual collection and thematic analysis of tweets to identify the main areas of gender bias before relating this to literature. Phase Two used Twitter analysis software, TweetBinder, to create analytical reports to demonstrate the efficacy of Twitter as a data resource.


Three-hundred-and-fifteen tweets were collected, with five main themes of gender-based discrimination identified: sexism, bullying, sexual harassment, patients’ perceptions, and pay and job disparity. Female-identifying junior staff have experienced gender-based microaggressions to deter them from a surgical career. Bullying and incidences of sexual harassment promote the attrition of female-identifying surgeons, resulting in great pay disparity and global under-representation. The Twitter hashtags significantly improved the outreach of the tweets, promoting engagement with new users to the discourse.


The thematic analysis of tweets echoes the findings of contemporary research but personalises the statistics around gender disparity to create a more compelling provocation for attitude change. Twitter can facilitate contemporary engagement in the surgical gender-parity discussion from both familiar and new users. This may influence current surgical trainees and inspire a new generation of diverse and inclusive surgeons.

More from our Archive