Despite increasing number, female pediatricians earn $51,000 less than male counterparts

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The gender pay gap persists even in pediatrics, where there are more women than other specialties. (Getty/utah778)

Among specialties, pediatrics has the highest percentage of women doctors, yet female pediatricians still earn less than their male colleagues, according to a new study.

Female pediatricians earn about 76% of what their male counterparts earned, according to the study published in Pediatrics.

Overall, pediatricians reported a mean annual income of $189,804 based on a 2016 survey of 998 early- and midcareer pediatricians. Before adjusting for any other factors, women earned about $51,000 less. The men reported earnings of about $213,392 while women reported an annual income of $162,073.

When the researchers adjusted for characteristics such as demographics, work hours and specialty, women earned about 87% of what males reported or about $26,000 less. Even in the best-case scenario, adjusting for a comprehensive set of factors such as their pediatric specialty and work-family characteristics, the women earned about 94% of what men earned or $8,000 less.

A separate study in the journal looked at male and female pediatricians' work-life balance and household responsibilities. It found women were more likely than men to have primary responsibility for 13 of 16 household responsibilities, such as cleaning, cooking and routine care of children. Women were less satisfied with their share of responsibilities and fewer reported being very successful at achieving balance between their job and other areas of their lives.

In an accompanying commentary, Anita Raj, Ph.D., of the Center on Gender Equity and Health at the University of California in San Diego, said the salary study was “disheartening news,” especially as women comprise 63% of pediatricians.

“Even in this female-dominated profession, in which women may have greater opportunity to organize and demand equal pay for equal work, women receive 76 cents on the dollar relative to their male counterparts,” she wrote. Pediatrics should be at the forefront of equal pay for equal work, she said.

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