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If you’re a doctor in Charlotte, N.C., you’re ideally situated to benefit from the highest pay in the health care business. There’s just one catch: If you want that big money, you can’t be a woman.

That’s because the city also has the biggest gender wage gap in the nation. Female physicians in Charlotte make an average of 33 percent less than their male counterparts, a difference of $125,000 per year, according to a new report by the social media site Doximity.


The report tracks medicine’s pay disparities by geography. It reveals that pay for female doctors varies widely, though one thing remains consistent — women are always paid significantly less than men.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Nationally, female physicians make an average of 26.5 percent, or $91,000, less than men.
  • Women are paid less in every city and every specialty. Female neurosurgeons are paid about $90,000 less per year on average. In vascular surgery the pay gap is $89,000 a year, and it’s $76,000 among cardiologists.
  • In several cities, the pay gap is 30 percent or more, including Charlotte and Durham, N.C., Orlando, Fla., and Pittsburgh. Five other cities have a 29 percent gap.

The report also examines compensation more broadly, looking at variations in pay for foreign-trained doctors and primary care physicians, as well as differences in metropolitan areas that pay doctors the most and least.


Physicians' annual compensation versus gender wage gap by state

Hover over circles or squares to see details by US region or state.

Talia Bronshtein Source: Doximity

Its data on the gender pay gap adds to a growing body of research on the extent of those disparities. “I don’t know if we’ve known that it is this stark and exists across this many dimensions,” said Chris Whaley, lead author of the Doximity report and adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

He added: “There are obvious implications here in terms of being able to attract and retain high-quality physicians. More importantly, there’s an equity and fairness issue.”

The pervasiveness of the pay gap belies the importance of women to the future of the profession. A study by Harvard researchers recently showed that female physicians achieved better clinical outcomes in Medicare patients. In addition, women account for about half of the graduates from US medical schools every year. In 2015, they outnumbered male graduates in several states, including Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Washington, and Missouri.

Doximity’s findings are based on a survey of 36,000 physicians across the US. The researchers said they controlled for hours worked and other factors that might explain the variations in pay. The report does not examine the reasons for the pay gap.

Dr. Suzanne Harrison, president of the American Medical Women’s Association, said differences in pay begin early in female physicians’ careers and often grow wider during the course of their careers. Until the gender pay gap is closed, she said, the issue must be addressed during training, so that female physicians are better equipped to advocate for themselves when they are negotiating compensation and benefits on their first jobs.

“This is unfortunately still a very real problem,” said Harrison, a family medicine physician and professor at Florida State University College of Medicine. “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.”

The disparities they face apply to opportunities to conduct research, lead grand rounds lectures, and create the reputation and visibility needed to compete for promotions. Women also face additional barriers related to raising children and requiring additional flexibility in their work schedules.

Too often, Harrison said, that flexibility is incorrectly construed as a ding on productivity. “The assumption has been by many that if you’re at work fewer hours, that means you get less work done,” Harrison said. “But if you drill down, women tend to be very productive” when they’re at work.

She said eliminating the pay gap requires a systemic response. In addition to beefing up training for their doctors, health care organizations must examine their own pay inequities — across gender and race — and devise ways to address them. “It helps everyone to take the 10,000-foot view and really ask these questions: ‘Where are we providing opportunities? How do we train people to keep accurate account of their work and the value they bring to their institutions?’”

  • How did the author adjust for hours worked ? Male physicians work longer days, more days and see a significantly higher number of patients on average per day. Show me the true evidenced based mathematical statistics and science behind this headline medical propaganda. The only apple to apple comparison of relevance would be an employed position where a women is paid 30% less than a male colleague in the same specialty by the same employer. Did the author account for production bonuses and incentives?
    Did the author account for time off work?
    Did the author explain that physicians get paid the exact same rate based on medical complexity for medicare, medicaid and health insurance across the board?
    A valid study or survey is nearly impossible to find in todays
    Medicopilitical bullshit.
    Show me the real study and I guarantee it’s weak evidence and manipulated data for a headline.
    Send me the original studies not your jaded summary.
    There are still a few doctors that read the original article and are not misled by poor science.
    [email protected]

    • i’ve heard some simillar sentiment from some friends who work for large hospitals. in particular, i have male, gay friends who feel that they get taken advantage of in some regards by female doctors who have kids because the male docs have to pick up the slack while the doctors with kids are away from work and can see fewer patients. and beyond that, the male gay docs, in particular, aren’t viewed as having out of work / personal committments that are as important or as necessary as the doctors who have families, and that’s not really fair either. there are some valid points on both sides for sure, and i can understand that frustration. the tough thing is i’m sure the answer isn’t the same in all circumstances (no doubt there are many extremely high peforming female doctors who see a ton of patients and work arduous hours), and also to your point, makes it hard to really translate some of this data into blanket statements about pay disparity (and your mention of isolating specialties is a valid point too). wish i knew the best way to solve the problem and keep health care professionals fairly compensated and also make sure the hospitals are staffed well enough that patients get the amount of time they need with their doctors to ensure good outcomes. and of course things are going to be so different in larger hospitals versus smaller practices, and in cities versus rural areas. it’s a tough one.

  • “If you want that big money, you can’t be a woman.”

    Absolute rubbish. There are already laws to prevent pay discrimination based upon gender. The wage gap is based upon different experience levels, different negotiation skill levels, different hours worked, different jobs taken, different _____ fill in the blank. It’s not as simple-minded as you’re attempting to portray it here. Why are you being so dishonest statnews? Why is it that a website called ‘Stat’ needs to be educated about how basic statistics works? You can’t be this idiotic.

  • As an ob-Gyn in a group of six, I have been more than happy over my career to trade money for flexibility. Every woman in our group works part time, with defined schedules. When there is a temporary need for coverage to fill gaps, the full time men do it because we part time women have demanded set hours. I have no problem at all that the men are compensated both for the work itself, but also for the fact that it is unscheduled work. In addition, the three women in the six doctor group are all married to physicians, and these spouses have the same obligations to pick up the excess work burdens in their own practices.

    • I agree that part of this is that women have traded money for flexibility but once the kids are out of the house, women stay working full time longer. When men get to their sixties they are taking golf days each week and all of March off for vacation. Women outwork them in hours, but because we have bypassed full professor status and partnerships etc for flexibility early in our career, we are working more hours for a lower hourly rate.

    • One cause is that while women give up money for fewer hours and flexibility while they have kids, they return to their careers once the kids are grown and end up in their sixties working more hours than the men who are now golfing one day and week and taking the month of March for vacation. But, because they have bypassed professorships roles and partnerships for earlier flexibility, they are now making less hourly wages.

  • Grand rounds… irrelevant issue
    Research… irrelevant issue
    Medicare and commercial reimbursements are blind to gender

    So why the disparity?? Could it be the liberal/ enlightened ? bastions of higher education… the so called ‘academic centers’ are contributing to the gender gap when it comes to pay and opportunity while trumpeting their general virtuosity?

    In my practice men and woman are on equal footing when it comes to opportunity and financial opportunity… there is no gender tax

  • No more excuses. If women want aggregate parity pay, they need to choose medical specialties that are higher paying. For instance, the highest paid specialty is orthopedist, and just 4.3 percent of orthopedic surgeons are female. The second highest paid specialty is cardiology, and just 12 percent of cardiologists are female. Not only that, according to a Duke study, “women who choose the field are much less likely to specialize in higher-paying interventional procedures.”

    Women are a majority of practitioners in family medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology, not one of which is in the top 15 highest paid specialties. Are women to blame for doing the sort of work they prefer, though it earns less?

    • Nice try but it out must know that plenty of r search has shown that as numbers of women in a certain profession increase, the pay goes down, and as numbers of men in a certain profession go up, pay also goes up. And that when women enter male-dominated fields, they are still paid less, while when men enter female-dominated fields, they typically make more than average. Many studies have shown this. Your solution is simplistic & not based in any evidence.

  • You are aware that women tend to work in employment style practices with non monetary benifits and no requirement to pay an office staff?

    Just as Dr. Goldin’s work has shown when you actually control for workplace preferences the broader pay gap goes away, likewise here. You simply aren’t controlling for the differences in employment choice, which is fine, just something I would hope the people who championed the march on science would avoid.

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