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Even Among Doctors, Women Earn Less

Woman doctorWhile the gender gap in income is already well-known in the American workplace, many believe that  medicine is one of the few fields in which men and women identical the same hours and producing comparable results would be paid and promoted equally. While some studies found income disparities between men and women who practice medicine, many researchers have simply presumed that this is due to fewer women working in higher-income specialties and more men putting in long hours.

Yet a study just published in The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that even medicine is not so meritocratic.

The study evaluated the professional paths of nearly 2,000 midcareer physician-researchers. They were selected on the basis of similarity to one another in professional interests and aptitude, and physicians in the study call had received a highly prestigious research grant early on in their career trajectories. The researchers factored in a wide range of career data, including hours worked, achievements, leadership positions, marital status, parental status and salary.

As in previous studies, research has shown a disparity in doctor’s income, with a man averaging a little over $200,000 per year and women pulling in around $168,000. Yet this time around the study adjusted for distinctions in medical specialty, publications, academic rank, hours and leadership positions, and found that women’s salaries still lagged behind that of male colleagues. Men earned over $12,000 more than women.

Projected out over the course of a 30-year career, that gender-based income gap amounted to over $350,000.

As reported by the New York Times, Dr. Reshma Jagsi, the lead researcher and a professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan was even surprised at the results. As she stated: “We really didn’t expect to find such a substantial unexplained difference. In Michigan, that amount buys you a house, your kids’ education or a nice nest egg for retirement.”

“Society makes a huge investment in every medical trainee,” Dr. Jagsi said. “If we make that kind of investment, we need to ensure that compensation and advancement are fair.”She added, “It comes down to a matter of basic fairness.”

The employment attorneys at Emery Reddy represent the rights of workers and residents in Washington State. If you are the victim of illegal workplace practices such as discrimination, wrongful termination, a wage dispute, or other matters including FMLA or ADA, contact our law firm today to learn how we can help.

Emery Reddy