VALUE (NOT) GOTTEN
A recent study from the medical journal Health Affairs finds that over a 40-year career, a female doctor makes at least $2 million less than a male counterpart. This amounts to a near 25% percent difference in earnings for people in comparable positions over the course of their careers.
A New York Times article on the findings notes that this is the largest published analysis of doctor’s salaries, and the first to include the cumulative effect of the gender wage gap. The article also points out that while the study was conducted using data from 2014 to 2019, the gap has likely widened since the onset of the pandemic, which caused many female doctors to leave work and tend to household responsibilities and children, decreasing their cumulative earnings.
Impacts of the pay gap on nonbinary or trans doctors were not reflected in the study, nor were the effects of race on pay, a factor known to profoundly impact salary.
The study did account for the tendency for women to fill lower-paid roles in general—quite possibly another effect of gender discrimination—and compared only those doctors in comparable positions. Had it included these differences in roles, the lead author estimates that the gap would have “roughly doubled.”
Interestingly, the study also points to women spending more time with their patients as a factor in their reduced earnings, since the extra time is not billable. If you remember from above, this practice pattern is also linked to better patient outcomes. Women get paid less for doing better medical work.