Female Physicians Are Paid Eight Percent Less than Males, Study Says

That translates to a roughly $20,000 pay gap.

Female physicians working in public medical schools earn roughly 8 percent—or $20,000—less than their male counterparts each year, according to new research from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The researchers analyzed data from 10,250 physicians, 35 percent of whom were female, working at 24 public medical schools. After adjusting for factors that could influence income, such as faculty rank and research productivity, the researchers found an average salary of $227,783 for women and $247,661 for men.

Not all fields, however, were equal. Researchers found the greatest gaps in orthopedic surgery, cardiology, and obstetrics and gynecology, the latter being one of the medical professions that females are most likely to enter. On the other hand, family and emergency medicine had the narrowest salary differences. Female radiologists even made slightly more than their male counterparts.

Some medical schools’ gaps were wider than others’, too. Western schools saw the greatest disparities, while female employees actually made more at two of the schools.

As lead author Anupam Jena noted in a statement, the findings are especially noteworthy since they deal with public medical schools.

“More than raising attention to salary sex differences in medicine, our findings highlight the fact that these differences persist even when we account for detailed factors that influence income and reflect academic productivity,” Jena said. “The fact that we observed these income differences among physicians who are public employees raises issues that may have state regulatory implications.”


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