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No matter where they live or what they specialize in, female doctors in the US earn significantly less than male doctors, a new survey shows.

The wage gap for medical specialities is highest for vascular surgeons, occupational medicine, gastroenterology, and both pediatric endocrinology and rheumatology. In each case, men earn about 20 percent more than women in the same specialty, translating to about $89,000 more for male vascular surgeons or about $45,000 more for male pediatric rheumatologists.


The self-reported data was gathered from 36,000 licensed doctors working full-time in the US by Doximity, a social media site for physicians.

STAT reported Tuesday on the overall wage gap between male and female doctors — about 27 percent — and what this means for a profession that relies more and more on female practitioners. Depending on the state (or Washington, D.C.), up to 46 percent of doctors are women and about half the graduates of US medical schools are women. And in certain specialities, such as pediatrics and pediatric sub-specialities, between 52 percent and 62 percent of practitioners are women.

Physicians' annual compensation versus gender wage gap by specialty

Hover over circles or squares to see details by specialty or group.

Talia Bronshtein/STAT Source: Doximity

The Doximity report supports other studies relating to physician pay. But one report, published in 2016, finds female radiologists earn slightly more than male radiologists at public medical schools.

  • Note that I am NOT proposing this as an actual, verified answer, but I often wonder in these self-reported surveys, what the ratio of ground truth to “stretched for my ego” truth for the salary question, and how much that ratio differs between men and women. My experience – and yes it’s anecdotal, not data – would strongly suggest that men inflate their actual earnings much often and aggressively than women.

    Where I do have data – in a couple of companies I’ve worked for – strongly supports this. Self-reported salary surveys in those companies showed bigger variance than actual salary data.

  • MD Women should give up their clinician careers and become MD scientists working for a fair gender-unbiased NIH salary of about 50K/year. Who cares giving up to 100k+/year when you can have that feeling of not being discriminated as a woman?

    • They should give up the career path they went to school for, the one they earned, and go into another area because society is comfortable compensating them equally there. #Bullshit

  • BW is spot on. Without more specific job detail data the Doximity survey (NOT a scientific study) is meaningless. From an HR perspective “full time” in medicine can mean 40hrs/wk or 100+hrs/wk. I’ve worked VA, academics, salaried, and private practice and I have never seen nor heard of an instance where a (same-specialty) female doc was paid less ON A PER UNIT WORKED basis. This is NOT the misogynistic 1940’s. Sutton’s Law applies here. Follow the $$$ trail. If female docs generally were indeed being paid that much less (27%!?!) all the big insurance carriers would be cutting expenses (boosting their big profits) by having (mainly) female docs in their networks.

    • If market forces solved gender wage gaps like this, why do we have them (skepticism of the current survey methodology aside) at all?

      Clearly we need to accept that gender bias is exercised against not only a basic sense of equality, but also against common sense and intelligent business strategy. I cannot imagine this problem being addressed without first acknowledging how pervasive it is at institutions we don’t currently think could be so shortsighted and biased.

  • What none of these studies ever seem to make clear is whether the gap reflects a difference in hourly compensation or differences in hours and overtime, or both. I am willing to accept any result, but I would like to know what it is before evaluating the importance of the disparity.

    • Really, Nicolas? What preferences are you talking about? Not working overtime? Maternity leave? Not working evenings? Etc. These are all family burdens which can, with the exception of actually being pregnant, be shared between male and female doctors. Can you see how the loop perpetuates itself?

      Go on.

    • What preferences? Women work just as hard as men and in many cases, harder. Plus, they carry most of the household burden. It is very sad that you think this way.

    • This discussion is getting more muddled rather than less. I spent 25 years in Norway, which has well developed systems for maternity leave, childcare, limiting work-hours, overtime, and equality for women in the workplace. Studies show that Norwegian women – since they have the possibility – choose on average more family time than overtime compared to men, although more men are making similar choices. Nobody has shed any light on my question: to what extent is the earnings gap due to wage differentials as compared to hours worked? If it is due to family burdens, then policies such as are found in Norway are potential solutions. If it is due to wage differences, they should be narrowed. There should be no opprobrium attached to a healthy work-free time balance. On the other hand should some people work more hours than others for the same pay?

    • Actually, if it is true that women have different preferences and it is say biological and can’t be changes then it is our fault that we continue to pay the female “preferences” less. I assume you mean pediatrics over urology? Why then do we pay our urologists so much more? We do have control over this.

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