Crucial Report Proves Female Doctors Paid Less — And No, It’s Not Because Of “Lifestyle Choices”
1:00 pm, June 13th | by Amy Tennery
My God. Do you think that maybe this happens in other career fields too?
Okay, I’ll cut the sarcasm — mostly because this new study could go a long way to back up what’s a commonly held truth among women: Gender pay inequity is real.
The report, carried out by the University of Michigan, asked 800 different doctor-researchers to answer questions regarding their salaries, ages, levels of seniority, hours worked and so on. And, not surprisingly to some of us, the study found that female doctors and researchers in the U.S. make $12,000 less annually than male doctors and researchers.
Now, before you cry “extenuating circumstances!” keep this in mind: The report also found that differentials like hours worked and “life choices” (the clinical term for “babies,” methinks) aren’t to blame for the pay gap. In fact, researchers arrived at the $12,000 figure after accounting for outlying factors that could have artificially tipped the scales (the unadjusted gap was $32,000). And while female doctors responding to the University of Michigan survey did, on the whole, work fewer hours and move into lower-paying fields than men, this only accounted for some of the wage gap. That inexplicable $12,000 remained, even after other variables were measured.
Lead researcher Dr. Reshma Jagsi told Reuters in no uncertain terms that this $12,000 pay gap has nothing to do with women’s “life choices” — and that this is a big problem:
“Disturbingly, even after we controlled for all those other factors, we found that male doctors were paid more than female doctors for doing the same work.”
I don’t want to sound like a broken record but, let’s reiterate: The male doctors were paid more “for doing the same work.”
To anyone whose watched frustrating pay inequity deniers swear up and down that gender pay discrimination isn’t real, this report is eminently gratifying. It debunks the most cherished counter argument that the pay gap “truthers” (so to speak) have: That women are paid less because of the choices they make — and not because of systemic problems.
And while “women get into low-paying careers!” has long been the rallying cry for pay gap non-believers, this report shows that even within the highest paying fields (like, say, medicine), the oh-so-stubborn salary discrepancy remains.
Ladies, it’s not your fault. Spread the word.