Within the recent trend of declining surgeon numbers, there is now an unprecedented wealth of opportunities for women to become surgeons. Furthermore, the number of female doctors in Japan is increasing each year, with a noticeable rise in younger female surgeons at medical conferences.
However, the majority of female surgeons are breast surgeons, and women currently account for only a small proportion of all gastrointestinal surgeons.
Rather than due to a lack of interest in gastrointestinal surgery by female medical students and residents, the small number of female gastrointestinal surgeons may be attributed to feelings of uneasiness about life-planning for the future or the eventual need to give up on their career goals because of heavy responsibilities for household chores and child care. Other factors may also include a variety of life events such as marriage and childbirth.
Female surgeons who continue to work tend to ask for more than just work-life balance — they are also eager to advance their surgical skills, earn the title of board-certified surgeon, accumulate achievements through conference participation and publications, and ultimately climb the career ladder in the same way as male surgeons.
In consideration of these recent trends, we have launched The Association for Empowerment of Women Gastrointestinal Surgeons, or “AEGIS-Women”, to assist in increasing the presence of female gastrointestinal surgeons in Japan.
The purpose of this association is to promote the representation of female doctors, residents, and medical students in the field of gastrointestinal surgery, to help female gastrointestinal surgeons maintain their career, and to expand their areas of activity.
AEGIS-Women is committed to supporting clinical cases, studies, and technical skills advancement, including sharing information and providing educational opportunities. We will also align with The Japanese Society of Gastroenterological Surgery and other relevant associations to formulate and offer proposals to municipal governments and the national government for enhancing our working environment, thereby contributing to overall improvements in our field and society.
We are confident that these activities will continue to open doors for women in the field of gastrointestinal surgery, support long-term career achievements, stem the decrease in gastrointestinal surgeons, and subsequently improve the work-life balance for both male and female surgeons.
We look forward to welcoming not only female surgeons, but also male surgeons, residents, medical students, as well as other individuals and corporations that can contribute to our association.