To the surprise of many, a large new study found a persistent gender pay gap for female physicians. Catherine Saint Louis reports in the New York Times that contrary to previous studies of physician salaries, which drew from incomplete data and could be easily dismissed, this study draws on a large objective sample of ten thousand physician faculty members at twenty-four public medical schools in the United States. The researchers carefully controlled for a variety of factors that can influence income, such as volume of patients seen, years since residency, specialty, and age. Saint Louis reports that after adjusting for these factors, the researchers found the following discrepancies:
- Female neurosurgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons, and other surgical specialists made roughly $44,000 less than men in those positions.
- Female orthopedic surgeons made nearly $41,000 less than male orthopedic surgeons.
- Women made about $38,000 less among oncologists and blood specialists, $36,000 less among obstetrician-gynocologists, and $34,000 less among cardiologists.
- Only in radiology did women make more—about $2,000 more than men.
- Female professors made about the same salary as male associate professors even though the female professors outranked them.
- Require all companies in Massachusetts to undertake a study of their gender-based pay practices and publish the results.
- Protect employers from being held liable for pay-discrimination lawsuits if they can show that they have undertaken a study of wage disparities in the past three years and can demonstrate reasonable progress toward eliminating the gap.
- Prohibit employers from asking applicants about their salary history until the employer has made a salary offer. This helps eliminate the negative impact of women’s historically lower salaries.