Women’s Representation in Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journals Increased Over Past 35 Years

Researchers evaluated the proportion of women editorial board members and editorial authors in 6 major gastroenterology and hepatology journals over the past 35 years.

Over the past 35 years, the proportion of women editorial board members and women authors of editorials in gastroenterology and hepatology journals has increased. These findings are based on the results of a study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

The researchers conducted a study to evaluate the proportion of women editorial board members and authors of editorials in 6 major gastroenterology journals from 1985 to 2020 at 5-year intervals. The following journals were included: The American Journal of Gastroenterology (AJG), Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (CGH), Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Journal of Hepatology (JOH).

An initial assessment of first names was conducted to determine the sex of each editorial board member, editor-in-chief, and author. The percentages of women editorial board members, editors-in-chief, and authors were quantified by calculating frequencies as well as proportions. The researchers used the χ2 test to identify differences between journals and used the Cochran-Armitage test to determine trends over time.  

A total of 2282 editorial board members, 40 editors-in-chief, and 1705 authors of editorials (1158 first or only author and 547 last author) were included in the study.  

The investigators found that the overall proportion of women editorial board members increased from 2.9% in 1985 to 19.8% in 2020 (P <.0001). Significant differences were observed in the cumulative proportion of women editorial board members between journals inspected, with the highest proportion observed in Hepatology (16.6%) and lowest in AJG (7.1%; P =.007). The analysis of trends in women’s representation on editorial boards by journal and by year revealed a significant increase in women’s representation for Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and JOH.

The proportion of women authors of editorials, irrespective of authorship position, increased significantly from 0% in 1985 to 22.2% in 2020 (P <.0001). No significant difference was found in the cumulative proportion of women authors by journal. A significant increase in women authors in all journals except AJG, CGH, and JOH was found when comparing authorship by journal and year.

In addition, for editorials with multiple authors (n=548), 19% of first authors were women and 14.4% of senior authors were women. No association was found between the sex of first and senior authors (P =.53).

This study was limited by a lack of information about the number of women invited to join editorial boards or write editorial pieces.

These observations indicate that the proportion of women represented on editorial boards and women authors of editorials has improved over time. However, more opportunities likely exist to close sex gaps among higher academic and leadership positions. By reducing these gender disparities, advancements in academic research and women’s healthcare, particularly in gastroenterology, can be accelerated.

Disclosure: One author declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.


Subramaniam M, Azad N, Wasan SK, Long MT. Equal opportunity: women representation on editorial boards and authorship of editorials in gastroenterology and hepatology journals. Am J Gastroenterol. 2021;116(3):613-616. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000001183