What Men Think: Gender Wage Gap Within Medicine

men think

Recently a male internal medicine physician was quoted in the Dallas Medical Journal stating that the gender wage disparity in medicine is “fair” and that it exists because “female physicians do not work as hard and do not see as many patients.” This created an uproar on social media from women physicians.

Here are the facts:

Fifty-five years after the Equal Pay Act was signed, gender wage gap still exists. According to the 2018 Annual Physician Compensation report released by Doximity, female physicians earned 27.7 percent less than their male counterparts. This equated to $105,000 less per year for female physicians. Study after study has shown that even when hours worked and productivity are accounted for, women are earning less than men physicians. Yet, women physicians go through the same level of training as men physicians.

We wanted to learn more about the male perspective on the topic and wanted to know if many male physicians concur with the Texas internist’s opinion? So we interviewed a few men in medicine and here is what they had to say about the gender wage gap.

“How can we as physicians, those most trusted to a high standard of ethics and honesty, even consider different pay for the same job based on gender or any other bias?” 

Dr.   Douglas Johnston, Allergy & Immunology

“There is no place in this society for a wage gap. It is shameful this still exists. Female physicians receive the same education and training of their male counterparts. It is inexcusable in this day and age.”

– Dr. Rahul Rishi, Allergy & Immunology

“The practice of gender wage gaps should be deemed illegal. This is worse than racism. Organizations practicing this should be brought to the media and boycotted.”

  – Dr. Zubin Shah, Ophthalmology

“Unfortunately, as Chester Karrass says in his book ‘In Business as in Life — You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.’ Pay/contract transparency would fix that.”

– Dr. Amir Estephan, Emergency Medicine

“It is sad to see the wage gap amongst physicians depending on gender in the 21st century. It should be equal pay for equal work”

 Dr. Jaimin Patel, Endocrinology

“Wages should be based upon qualifications. Men or women working in the same profession, under the same title, doing the same work, should be paid the same. It is about equality and fairness to all.”

 Dr. Ruchir Shah, Neurology

“[One of the reasons for the wage gap is that female physicians aren’t very good at negotiating]. I suggest productivity contracts since it removes the bias and makes it more objective.”

 – Dr. Daniel Laroche, Ophthalmology

“It’s hard to believe that such inequality still exists in today’s modern society. As medical professionals, we work together to deliver high level care to every patient irrespective of their disparities, so why should there be a pay disparity between us?

 – Dr. Hemang Shah, Internal Medicine

“Women should make the same amount of money for doing the same job. I don’t know why they would be paid less.”

 – Dr. Sudip Ringwala, Allergy & Immunology

“Flat salaries without negotiation are the only thing that’s fair. Incentives for men and women should be based on objective performance like quality metrics etc. If you negotiate, it will immediately lead to bias.”

  – Dr. Kwame Akoto, Family Medicine

“Women don’t get to be individuals, judged by their own merit and character? I’m at a loss.”

 Dr. James D Mayers

“Our female physician colleagues sit side by side with us in medical school. They suffer the same sleepless days and nights in residency. Yet despite the same training and time commitment there exists a pay gap between male and female physicians that we absolutely need to acknowledge and address.”

 Dr. Numan Fateh, Hematology & Oncology

“The hourly rate of docs at a shop should be the same based on experience and qualifications no matter color, gender, or waist size. We should be past the point where a birth difference impacts reimbursement or employment. My wife is a physician and I wouldn’t want her earning less than me for the same work.”

– Ryan Stanton, MD, Emergency Medicine 

According to a recent JAMA study, female physicians had better patient outcomes than male physicians; and yet, the wage gap exists, regardless of the specialty. I urge you all to find a solution to the medical wage gap. Gender wage incongruity is huge and it will only close if we do something about it.

So what can be done? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Take to social media and share your stories and your opinion on the issue. Use the hashtag #equalpayforequalwork and #womeninwhitecoats
  2. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper sharing your perspective.
  3. Ask for transparency in pay and contracts at your workplace.

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