Increasing numbers of women are entering surgical fields. The purpose of this study was to assess whether orthopaedic surgery is significantly different from other surgical fields in the recruitment of women to training programs. We analyzed data from the American Association of Medical Colleges as reported in annual issues on medical education in the Journal of the American Medical Association for the years 1970 to 2001, excluding 1975. Using linear regression models, we analyzed two factors: changes in the percentage of women within orthopaedic residencies (i.e., the ratio of men to women) and changes in the percentage of all female residents who choose to enter orthopaedics compared with other types of surgical residencies. The percentage of women in the entering classes of medical school has increased from 11.1% in 1970 to 47.8% in 2001, while the percentage of women in orthopaedics has increased from 0.6% in 1970 to 9.0% in 2001. Orthopaedic residencies have the lowest percentage of women compared with all other primary surgical specialties. Only thoracic surgery, a field entered secondarily after the completion of general surgical training, has a lower percentage. The increases in the percentage of women in orthopaedics over the past thirty years have been significantly lower than those in every other primary surgical field (including general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, and urology), except neurosurgery, and are markedly different from the percentages of women in the entering classes of medical school. The percentage of all female residents who choose an orthopaedic residency is 0.6%, a number that has not changed over the past twenty years. Orthopaedic surgery has not had the same success in recruiting female trainees that other surgical fields have had. Furthermore, there appears to be a leveling of the recruitment rate over the past two decades, indicating that the higher numbers of women entering medicine will not be sufficient to improve gender representation in orthopaedic surgery training.