Low Pay for New Female Doctors Tied to Gender, Not Job

March 9, 2011

In 2008, male physicians who were newly trained in New York State made an average of $16,819 more than newly trained female physicians, compared to a $3,600 difference in 1999, according to a study published in the February issue of Health Affairs.

MONDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In 2008, male physicians who were newly trained in New York State made an average of $16,819 more than newly trained female physicians, compared to a $3,600 difference in 1999, according to a study published in the February issue of Health Affairs.

Anthony T. Lo Sasso, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues studied the starting salaries by gender of physicians leaving their residency programs in New York State between 1999 and 2008. They sought to determine whether the gender gap could be explained by specialty choice, work hours, or practice setting.

The researchers found that there was a significant gender gap that could not be explained by any characteristics, including choice of specialty, practice setting, or work hours. They also found that the pay gap trend seemed to be a recent development that has grown with time. They noted that female physicians were entering into formerly male-dominated and traditionally higher paying subspecialties, so the notion that women tend to enter primary care, a lower-paying specialty, was not found to be the case.

"Considering our findings, and in light of the continuing rise in the number of female physicians, policy makers, physician practice groups, and medical training programs should reconsider how they attract providers, how they construct their working arrangements, and how they pay," the authors write.

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