The Pay Gap: A Not-so-new Trend with Women in the Medical Field

Gender equality is a goal we like to think we achieved decades ago, but in reality, it’s something that we continue to fight for everyday. Most people have outgrown the idea that women belong in the kitchen, but that’s only the beginning of the fight towards true equality.

There is still a large difference in jobs most believe are suitable for a certain gender; women don’t become construction workers, just as men don’t become nannies. You might think that these ideals will never disappear completely, but not too long ago it was completely taboo for a woman to become a doctor. It’s true that our country has made great strides toward its goal of gender equality, but these accomplishments are jaded by concepts like pay gaps.

A pay gap is exactly what it sounds like, a difference between the pay of a man and a woman. Sadly, this gap continues to grow in the medical field. This means that a woman and a man are working the same amount of hours, at the exact same position, and she is still making less than he is.

Before we go all “feminist” on you, we do want to bring up the idea that just because this targets women, doesn’t mean that men agree with it. Many men in the medical field support the fair and equal treatment of women. This being said…

Women account for about one third of doctors in the United States, which is a huge increase from a couple decades ago. Unfortunately, female physicians’ wages haven’t kept up with that trend. On average, a female physician earns between $160,000 and $170,000 a year, while male physicians take in a whopping $200,000 to $210,000. This is no small amount. This could provide a brand new, luxury car once a year. Over a span of a 30-year career, researchers from Duke University found that women will bring in about $360,000 less than men.

How can this happen? Here’s a list of excuses society uses to justify the gender pay gap.

Motherhood: The motherhood myth says that women get paid less because they often ask to be part time, or for more time off, to be with their children. In reality, women with and without children report the same unfair wages.

Ambition: This is the myth that men ask for more than women, which is why they get more than women. Actually research shows that women in many fields are more likely to pursue training opportunities and experiences that will further her education.

Work Experience: This is an unacceptable myth in the medical field. You’ve received the same schooling and training. Supposed a man and woman attended the same school, worked through the same clinicals, and so on. He would still begin his career making more than she would.

It is important to continue to raise awareness of the gender pay gap, especially in doctors. The medical field was once dominated by men, and is now completely accessible to women. Physicians of all specialties should advocate for equality in the career they have pursued.


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