You’d think that as a woman you could break through that glass-ceiling of gender wage gaps if you got a high paying job in the medical field, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. A new study shows that the wage gap is still there, even if you’re a highly paid physician.
According to Forbes, Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and Duke University did a study that found that female doctors earn roughly $12,194 less per year than their male colleagues. Over the course of an average career, this adds up to about $365,000.
Taking as many factors into account as possible, the researchers expected that wages between male and female doctors would be pretty similar. To their chagrin, with all other factors the same, a female doctor working the same hours with the same qualifications will make about $360k less than a man over the course of a 30-year career. “Here in Michigan, that buys a house,” said lead study author Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil. “Anywhere, it sends a kid to college.”
What about the variables? According to the study, they don’t account for much. Women do tend to favor less well-paying practices like pediatrics, the gap remained the same with this taken into account. Another big explanation for the wage gap, motherhood, was also debunked. Kids or not, wages remained the same.
Dr. Jagsi did note that she doesn’t believe the wage gap is conscious. “Increasingly, we see institutional leaders who want male and female faculty to succeed,” she said. Instead, she blames psychological studies that show both men and women underestimating a female’s abilities in the workforce. Negotiation tactics factor too. Women are far less likely to negotiate for a raise than men.
“We need transparency and standardization so we can have accountability,” said Dr. Jagsi about moving into the future. Both sexes have a role to play. Men need to recognize these deficiencies and correct them when noticed. Women need to stand up for themselves and demand more money. If not, a problem can hardly be solved if it goes unnoticed.
Kate Taylor of Forbes summed it up nicely: “Working women, even in fields where such negotiation is less common, need to demand the pay they deserve, and push for more standardized processes of determining salaries. With transparency from above and determination from below, working women can begin to bridge wage gaps across all fields.”