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New Study Shows Significant Pay Gap for Female Doctors

Posted by Athena M. Herman | Jul 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

Equal pay violations affect women in just about every profession. This includes hourly workers, blue collar jobs, and white collar jobs. Last month, we wrote about the significant pay disparity between men and women in the legal profession. Now, a couple of new studies highlight the serious pay differences between male and female doctors.

Sex Differences in Physician Salary in US Public Medical Schools,” is a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study analyzed the salary differences between male and female academic physicians. Based on the results of looking at more than 10,000 physicians across the country, female physicians had significantly lower average salaries than male physicians.

According to the researchers, female doctors made less than male doctors across the medical specialty spectrum. Female cardiologists made $34,000 less annually than male cardiologists. Female oncologists made almost $38,000 less per year than men. Female neurosurgeons made almost $44,000 less per year than male neurosurgeons. In only one area of the study did women make more than men. Female radiologists made roughly $2,000 more than male radiologists.

Vineet M. Arora, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago wrote an editorial to the study. “These findings, although still sobering, emphasize the importance of understanding these positive deviants,” said Arora. “What policies, procedures, leadership, or culture at these sites helps to counteract a gender pay gap? Recognizing these factors could help to create a potential remedy that could be adopted and tested in the sites that experience the greatest disparity in income by sex.”

Researchers from Duke University and the University of Michigan Health System looked at the pay rates of almost 800 physicians who received competitive research grants. On average, the female physicians earned over $12,000 less than their male counterparts. According to the author of the study, Dr. Reshma Jagsi, over the course of a doctor's career, a woman will earn over $360,000 less than a male doctor working a similar job, with similar qualifications.

The study noted that many women go into specialties that are not as highly paid, including pediatrics, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, and radiology. However, taking these factors into account, equivalent male doctors still earned more than women. Motherhood was also not a significant factor. Female doctors who did not have children still had lower pay rates than men.

However, according to Dr. Jagsi, these pay gaps may not be based on conscious discrimination. Psychological studies have indicated that both men and women may underestimate a woman's abilities and work quality. Another reason cited for the disparity was the way women generally negotiate for pay. Statistically, men are more likely to negotiate for a raise.

If you believe your supervisor or employer may have discriminated against you on the basis of your gender, your employer may be violating federal and state human rights laws. Illinois employees who are victims of employment discrimination should speak with an experienced attorney who understands Illinois and federal employment discrimination law. At Benassi & Benassi, we are committed to getting our clients and their families the justice they deserve.

About the Author

Athena M. Herman

Athena M. Herman practices in the areas of employment discrimination law, general employment law, and civil rights law...


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Workers’ Compensation
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Personal Injury/Nursing Home Negligence/Medical Malpractice
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Retaliation claims and Whistleblower in the Workplace
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