Pay inequity in the field of medicine

A new study has found that women doctors earn less than male doctors–even after additional factors are accounted for. The study conducted at the University of Michigan evaluated 800 physicians that received grants from the National Institute of Health and were a group of highly competitive doctors to account for variations in skill level, hours worked, position and years on the job. What the study found was that even within this pool of people–there was a disparity between how much female identified physicians make and how much male identified physicians make.

And the results?

Via Atlanticwire,

RESULTS: The average annual salary of the respondents was $200,422 for men and $167,669 for women. After adjusting for factors that could potentially explain the pay differences, such as medical specialty, title, work hours, and productivity, the researchers still saw an income disparity of $12,001 a year or more than $350,000 over a career between male and female doctors who were doing similar work.

Interestingly, one of the authors of the study cautioned to not say this was bias, as much as negotiation style. While that can be true, bias is rarely conscious–that’s the problem with it and why it needs conscious policies to counteract. If you were to ask human resources did they realize they were giving women lower salaries of course they would say, “no!” But, that doesn’t changed an internalized belief that women are less worthy, less professional or less smart than their male counterparts and therefore will get paid less.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted June 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Hmph. I haven’t read the article (I should, but then I should even more not be reading this one) but I’m cautious about blaming negotiation style after all the hubbub regarding “Women Don’t Ask” and the follow up studies that suggested that women don’t ask because they correctly evaluate the situation and know that their asking will not be taken well.

  2. Posted June 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    We need not necessarily even presume internalized subconscious bias on the part of the employers – as the study author says, negotiation style might possibly explain the difference, and I think it is a very reasonable and supportable claim that our sexist society trains women in a less aggressive negotiation style than men that could very well lead to the observed effect.

    I wonder what the best method of counteracting this, as an employer or manager, is, on a local scale.

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