Women’s yearly salaries averaged almost $168,000, compared with $200,400 for men _ a difference of more than $32,000. Taking into account academic rank, choice of medical specialties and other factors that could affect salary, the difference wound up being $12,194.
Dr. Peter Ubel, the study’s senior author and a Duke University professor, said there’s no formula for pay increases; doctor-researchers don’t automatically get a raise every time one of their studies is published. That makes the decision-making process more subjective, he said.
About equal numbers of men and women attend and graduate from medical school. But women make up a tiny portion of leadership positions at medical schools. And Jagsi said people in hiring positions may be biased, perhaps unconsciously, toward hiring men.
Ann Bonham, chief scientific officer at the American Association of Medical Colleges, a national group that represents U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals, said medicine isn’t the only field with gender differences in salaries. Medical schools are aware of the problem and are moving to ensure that decision-making on salaries “is a fair process and transparent. Nobody intends to be unfair in distributing resources,” Bonham said.
Gerberding praised the study for raising awareness.
“Institutions need to take this information seriously and take a hard and closer look at their own salary parity issues,” she said. Career advancement often depends on having a strong mentor and sponsor, so women and men in leadership positions at medical schools and teaching hospitals should make sure they’re actively advocating for qualified women and suggesting them for promotions, Gerberding said.
AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner
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