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Role of Sex in Participation During Virtual Grand Rounds in Ophthalmology.

JAMA Ophthalmology 2023 July 21
IMPORTANCE: Sex disparities exist in academia. Female attendees consistently ask fewer questions in scientific meetings than male attendees, even when they constitute half of the audience.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the role of sex in participation during virtual grand rounds (GR) at a major academic center.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: In this prospective cohort study, attendees of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco, GR from April 2020 to April 2021 were included. All GR were held via a synchronous live video communication platform. During each GR session, a predesignated attendee collected the sex of all attendees, sex of the GR speaker, and sex of each individual who asked a question to the GR speaker in order of inquiry. The GR speakers and audience were unaware of the study. Data were analyzed from June 2021 to April 2023.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURES: The main analysis assessed the association between being female and asking one of the first 3 questions.

RESULTS: A total of 31 virtual ophthalmology GR sessions were observed. The sex of the GR speaker was female in 13 of 31 sessions (42%). The mean (SD) percentage of audience sex at each of the GR sessions was 47% (0.05) female, 45% (0.06) male, and 8% (0.03) unknown. Male attendees were more likely to ask one of the first 3 questions compared with female attendees (prevalence ratio, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.1-4.5; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Male attendees were more likely to ask questions during virtual ophthalmology GR compared with female attendees at an academic medical center. Strategies to encourage equal participation of sex in academic discourse should be encouraged.

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