The gender wage gap pervades all industries, but the physician pay gap might surprise you. A recent study by Doximity found that female physicians make 26.5 percent less than their male counterparts on average. But in Charlotte, North Carolina, the gap is 6 percent higher than the national average — yes, women physicians are making 33 percent less than men in Charlotte. So if you're a female considering a residency in the state, remember to ask for more money, because the pay gap there is $125,000 wide.
A few other places, including Durham, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Orlando, Florida also have gaps of 30 percent or more. Five other states have gaps of 29 percent.
But it doesn't matter, really, where it's the highest, because male physicians make more than females in every single state, and in every single specialty. So a female brain surgeon makes an average $90,000 less a year than a male surgeon doing the same job. For vascular surgeons, it's $89,000 less and $76,000 for cardiologists. The study was done via a survey of over 30,000 doctors nationwide and controlled for factors like hours worked and other reasons that a salary could vary. It's pretty shocking. But then again, this is just another study proving what many already knew was happening.
Late last year, another study done by Harvard researchers found that not only are women making less in medicine, but, conversely, they tend to produce better outcomes for patients. Sort of like how the national women's soccer team makes less money than the men's team, though the former wins world championships and the men do not.
The Harvard study found that female doctors tend to spend more time with patients and follow clinical guidelines more closely, resulting in lower mortality and lower readmission rates. That doesn't mean that men should be paid less, but it does raise some questions about how salaries are calculated, especially for anyone who wants to explain the physician wage gap away by citing performance.
If anything, it shows that female doctors might have something to offer their male colleagues and if hospitals and clinics want to retain talented female doctors, they might have to step up when it comes to compensation. Dr. Suzanne Harrison, president of the American Medical Women’s Association, told Stat News that the gender wage gap begins early on in women's careers and then gets worse.
Harrison said, "Women are less comfortable negotiating right out of residency. They haven’t had the training to feel comfortable in that role of asking for more.” So, despite all of those badass female Grey's Anatomy doctors, apparently women in real life are having trouble speaking up. Or they are asking for raises and just not getting them, as some research has shown.
But the research shows that women need to start asking for more, and management needs to make room for that to happen — because honestly, they deserve it.