Twenty-five of them (5.1%) were interviewed for a residency position during the 1970s, 88 (18.0%) during the 1980s, 135 (27.7%) during the 1990s, 212 (43.4%) during the 2000s, and 28 (5.7%) during the 2010s.

The results showed that 31.9% of respondents were informed about what constitutes an illegal question prior to interviewing. 

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The proportion who were pre-informed increased substantially from 1971 to 2015 (P<.001).

Overall, 61.7% of participants were asked an inappropriate question during an interview, and that proportion remained essentially unchanged throughout the study period (P=.315).

Only 1.4% of women who were asked an inappropriate question reported the incident to authorities. Failure to report was usually driven by concern that doing so would interfere with the applicant’s chance of matching or with her career (32.9%). 

Acceptance of the belief that “that is just how things are” was cited by 15.2% of women, and 14% felt that the inappropriate question was “just conversational.” 

Most survey respondents (81.1%) said that it would be less intimidating for them to report inappropriate questions to an agency that was not associated with their match.


Bohl DD, Iantorno S and Kogan M. “Inappropriate Questions Asked of Female Orthopaedic Surgery Applicants from 1971-2015.” 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Abstract number P-298.