Women in Surgery: Changing the Narrative


March 8, 1857.

Female textile workers marched throughout New York City in protest of unfair working conditions and unequal rights for women.1 It was one of the first organized strikes by working women, during which they called for a shorter workday and decent wages.1

On the Lower East Side of New York City, women workers in the needle trades were marching in protest of child labor, sweatshop working conditions, and women’s suffrage.1

In 1910, March 8th officially became known as International Women’s Day, in an effort to celebrate the economic, political, and social contributions of women.1

Since then, women have challenged standards and lead the way for new innovations. 

Especially in healthcare.

In 2022, about 8 in 10 workers in all healthcare occupations were women.2

The U.S. Physician Workforce Data Dashboard, constructed by the Association of American Medical Colleges, states that more than one-third (37.6%) of the active physician workforce in 2022 was female.3

Breaking it down further, Pediatrics and Palliative Medicine have the highest percentages of female active physicians, at 65.6% and 62.2%, while Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery have the lowest percentages, at 7.5% and 6.2%.3

Although Orthopedics falls in the two lowest spots for the number of active, female physicians, women in Orthopedics are hardly falling short in making monumental strides.

Dr. Laurie Hiemstra, an Orthopedic Surgeon at Banff Sport Medicine, is at the forefront of using a novel augment for MPFL reconstruction.

Dr. Sara Edwards, an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Shoulder and Sports Medicine at University of California San Francisco, is taking rotator cuff augmentation to a new level with a reinforced bioinductive implant.

Dr. Clara Azevedo, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital CUF Tejo, and the Head of the Shoulder and Elbow Unit of the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology of SAMS Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, is at the frontline of the dynamic anterior stabilization procedure.

These women are leading the way in the OR, bringing new techniques and outcomes to the orthopedic world every day.

View Dr. Hiemstra’s MPFL reconstruction here.
View Dr. Edward’s RCR Augmentation here.
View Dr. Azevedo’s DAS procedure here.

1 Bureau, US Census. “International Women’s Day: March 8, 2023.” Census.Gov, 24 Feb. 2023, www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/international-womens-day.html#:~:text=It%20began%20in%20New%20York,work%20day%20and%20decent%20wages. 
2 “Healthcare Occupations: Characteristics of the Employed : Spotlight on Statistics.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/spotlight/2023/healthcare-occupations-in-2022/home.htm#:~:text=%E2%80%8B%20Source%3A%20U.S.%20Bureau%20of%20Labor%20Statistics.,-View%20Chart%20Data&text=In%202022%2C%20about%208%20in,half%20of%20all%20employed%20workers. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024. 
3 “2023 Key Findings and Definitions.” AAMC, www.aamc.org/data-reports/data/2023-key-findings-and-definitions. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.