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Women are rising in rank at medical schools, but still have a long way to go to catch up with their male counterparts, national data show.

Women made up 21 percent of full professors at medical schools in 2013-14, a rise of 7 percentage points over the previous decade, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.


The AAMC tracks the number of full professors closely because it’s a stepping stone to future leadership, said Diana Lautenberger, director of women in medicine and science at AAMC: If you don’t become a full professor, you often can’t rise to become a department chair or dean.

Read more: Women still far outnumbered at Harvard Medical School’s highest ranks

Medical schools vary widely: At Texas A&M University, for instance, 13 percent of full professors of medicine were female; at the University of Puerto Rico, 44 percent were.

Among the bright spots: The University of California-Davis School of Medicine has made big leaps in promoting women in part by training search committees and promotions panels in unconscious bias, said Lautenberger. And the University of Massachusetts Medical School has improved through a slew of mentoring and programs to support career development; women comprised 26 percent of its full professors in 2013-14.


Similar programs are beginning to make a difference at Harvard Medical School, where 17 percent of full professors are women.

For school-by-school data on women’s representation at all levels of academic medicine, check out the AAMC’s report, “The State of Women in Academic Medicine: The Pipeline and Pathways to Leadership.”

Shares of male and female full professors at American medical colleges in 2013-2014