Purpose: To assess the true conditions and perceptions of the personal lives of men and women working as surgeons in Japan. Methods: In 2014, all e-mail subscribed members of the Japan Surgical Society (JSS, n = 29,861) were invited to complete a web-based survey. The questions covered demographic information, work environment, and personal life (including marital status, childcare, and nursing care for adult family members). Results: In total, 6211 surgeons (5586 men and 625 women) returned the questionnaires, representing a response rate of 20.8%. Based on the questionnaire responses, surgeons generally prioritize work and spend most of their time at work, although women with children prioritize their family over work; men spend significantly fewer hours on domestic work/childcare than do their female counterparts (men 0.76 h/day vs. women 2.93 h/day, p < 0.01); and both men and women surgeons, regardless of their age or whether they have children, place more importance on the role of women in the family. Conclusions: The personal lives of Japanese surgeons differed significantly according to gender and whether they have children. The conservative idea that women should bear primary responsibility for the family still pertains for both men and women working as surgeons in Japan.
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