Am J Epidemiol 2019 Apr 17. Epub 2019 Apr 17.
Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Women comprise about half of senior epidemiologists, but little is known about whether they are also viewed as leaders (i.e., authorities) in the field. We believe editorial roles are markers of leadership in a field. Our objective was to describe the distribution of gender across authorship of editorials published in five high-impact epidemiology journals over the past eight years. We included editorials and commentaries published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, European Journal of Epidemiology, Epidemiology, International Journal of Epidemiology, and Journal of Clinical Epidemiology between 2010 and 2017. We classified the gender of all authors as woman, man, or unknown and computed the proportions of women editorial authors over all journals and by position (e.g., first author). Only 31% (682/2,228) of all editorial authors and 36% (524/1,477) of unique editorial authors (i.e., counting each editorial author name only once) were women. We identified 1,180 editorials; 594 had sole authors, 24% (141/594) of whom were women, and 586 had two or more authors, 31% (184/586) of which had women as first authors. If women are underrepresented as editorial authors across epidemiology journals (e.g., as a marker of epidemiology leadership), the situation merits immediate correction.