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Strategies for closing the wage gap

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  • Strategies for closing the wage gap

    I think most female physicians are aware of the global trend for lower salaries for female physicians compared with their male partners.  I was wondering if any of you have been successful in closing the gap.  My first year in practice I was on a contract that I negotiated myself.  That practice ended up closing and we merged with a larger group.  I used this opportunity to change groups and signed a contract that was negotiated by the group as a whole resulting in a significant increase in pay.  I am fairly certain that I make as much as my male counterparts now.  For those who don't have a group contract option how do you do it?

  • #2
    In order to know you are being paid the same as your peers you have to have some degree of ownership.  I think this is why females in academics are lower paid than their peers. If you are not an owner then you are at risk of being "screwed" in the salary game.  I know more docs are working for hospitals or corporations but if you do this you must hone your negotiating skills because to a degree your salary is not in your control.  If you own the practice or are a partner then you know what everyone makes.  You know if you work harder you make more.  Gender really should not matter but these studies keep popping up saying that it does.  I think access to the books is the only way to know if things are equitably divided.

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    • #3
      I'm very interested in this topic.  A recent survey-type report talked about an income gap between men and women, even for residents.  This made no sense to me as GME salaries are the same for everyone in the same year at a program.  I had a few thoughts about it, both residency and afterward:

      • Maybe more women were in shorter-residency specialties? (IM, FM, peds, OB as opposed to surgery, etc)

      • Maybe more women took maternity leave and therefore had some unpaid or lower-paid periods?

      • Maybe more women chose employed positions for scheduling flexibility, including maternity leave?

      • Maybe more women worked part-time?


      I don't have the answers to any of those things.  Maybe they were in the report and I just didn't find them.  I just know that my wife has the same salary as the other attendings at her employed academic position with the same experience and responsibilities, and she took that job because they had favorable maternity leave policies.  She earned less than her male friend (and her female friend who didn't have a baby) last year because she had six unpaid weeks during maternity leave (and 5 more paid at 60%) despite having the exact same salary.  I think it's going to skew data when you have women in child-bearing years (if you choose to have children) who would have to face the choice between getting money and having a particular type of family life (if you want it).

      Maybe I just don't want to think that our society is so silly as to have two different levels of compensation for two people who do the exact same thing due to a simple attribute...but then again, our society is capable of some pretty awful concepts.

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      • #4
        Do all of these studies take into account hours worked? I'm assuming not too well. We are all salaried and salaries/pay increases are fairly transparent and there is a relatively small range that you increase over the minimum salary. I don't think there is any gender gap in full time salary, but way more women are working significantly reduced hours so they have more time to care for their kids. I don't know any men that work 3 days a week but quite a few women do and there are almost no women working a full 5 days a week. If you just looked at salaries between men and women there would be a significant gender gap. I'm sure this doesn't explain all of the gap, but it certainly contributes if you are not controlling for it. Lack of fully paid maternity would contribute for us as well.

        I have no experience negotiating for salary, etc!

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        • #5
          I am not sure about this--it is really about how well you do at negotiating...however I can say that as a female physician all female docs that I know work part time  while the males work full time with extra jobs on the side...

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