With more women doctors in the workforce, it’s time to address the disparity in physician compensation and career advancement, the American College of Physicians says.
The physicians’ group published a position paper today in the Annals of Internal Medicine that outlines ways to achieve gender equity in the medical profession, including ensuring compensation is the same for men and women doctors.
The paper notes that women make up more than one-third of the active physician workforce, as well as an estimated 46% of physicians-in-training and for the first time, more than half of all medical students in the United States.
Despite the increase in the number of female doctors, survey after survey shows pay disparities continue. A survey released just last week found that despite the growing movement for pay equity from Hollywood to Wall Street, women primary care physicians earn an average of 18% less than males, a disparity that jumps to 36% among specialties.
“ACP published this paper to not only highlight the obstacles that our female members face, but also to identify solutions to the very real barriers women in medicine deal with every day,” Jack Ende, M.D., ACP president, said in an announcement.
In order to foster an inclusive environment that promotes growth and development for female physicians, ACP’s paper calls for the adoption of equitable compensation policies in all organizations that employ physicians, investment in leadership development, negotiation and career development programs and parental and family leave policies.
ACP’s paper recommends six ways to achieve equity in physician compensation and advancement:
1. Ensure equitable pay and that no physician is penalized for working less than full-time.
2. Support universal access to family and medical leave policies, including making six weeks paid leave standard in physician and resident benefit packages, regardless of gender.
3. Urge all organizations that employ physicians to increase the number of women in leadership positions.
4. Conduct further research on the impact of gender compensation inequity and barriers to career advancement.
5. Implement regular training to eliminate implicit bias in all organizations that employ physicians.
6. Establish programs in leadership development, negotiation and career development for all physicians.
Not only have the differences in pay persisted between male and female doctors, a study that looked at new physicians in New York state found the gap has grown. In a healthcare industry first, more women than men enrolled in medical school in 2017.