Of all the surgical specialties, orthopedic surgery is the "manliest." Only 4.3 percent of America's board-certified orthopedic surgeons are women. At one point in time, people blamed the disparity on a simple notion: Men are stronger than women, and therefore more adept at manipulating bones and joints into place. But with today's high-tech medical equipment, physicians aren't muscling body parts into place on the operating table as they once did [source: O'Connor].
So what's going on? A study looked at the perceptions of orthopedic surgeons among medical students. It reported female medical students as saying that the main reason they did not choose an orthopedic residency was because of its "jock/frat culture." The next biggest reason was a lack of female role models, which is much more crucial to women than men. Finally, female residents in orthopedic surgery were much more likely than men to report feeling unaccepted by senior faculty [source: O'Connor].
But there's hope. A handful of groups have formed to offer outreach to young women in high school and college, encouraging them to consider the field, as well as support and networking opportunities for female orthopedic surgeons and those in training[source: O'Connor].