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AWIS in Action! June 2012-M3
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AWIS In Action!

 Advocacy & Public Policy Newsletter   ~   June 2012
In This Issue
M3 The Maddening Monthly Mention
* Medical Monetary Madness*
A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that women doctors make an average of $12,000 less per year than male doctors. This is the earning difference after accounting for all the main factors critics cite, including that women tend to pursue less prestigious medical specialties, bear more of the childcare responsibilities, sometimes take time off to have those children, and work fewer hours per week. Dr. Reshma Jagsi et al. surveyed a select group of 800 high achieving, mid-career M.D. researchers who received K-grants from the National Institutes of Health during a narrow time window. Multivariate analysis was performed to analyze income after accounting for all things thought to contribute to salary disparities. Not taking into account the factors listed above, the annual salary difference was $32,000. Over the course of a 30 year career that adds up to nearly $1 million in lost earning potential!
Medical doctors are some of the most respected and important professionals in the world. They receive rigorous training that is standardized and are repeatedly tested to qualify for the position they hold. Your cardiothoracic surgeon didn’t get her job straight out of med school because her dad is on the hospital’s board of directors. She earned it by hard work and a proven track record of success. So why is it that female physicians are paid less for the same job after years of education and training?
Unconscious bias (as well as perhaps some conscious bias) certainly plays a role in the choice of specialties. The old boys’ networks are still alive and kicking in some subdisciplines. Women have to make difficult choices in the way they prioritize work and family life. Additionally, women don’t always negotiate well. Doctors rarely receive formal training in this and females, from a young age, tend to be socialized to be team players and not to be too pushy. Furthermore, other studies suggest that women are often penalized for negotiating while men are not. The Paycheck Fairness Act has a stipulation that organizations can receive competitive grants to train women to be better at negotiating for better pay. Critics "gotcha” is to say that if women and men are equal, then women shouldn’t need that grant because they are equally as adept at negotiating for fair pay. As a nation we try to instill the idea that girls can grow up to be anything they want, yet even at the highest echelons of education and achievement women still make less than men. And Congressmen don’t think we should do anything to change this? That free market economics will even it out? That is an outrage! 

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