Women physicians who work in reproductive health for women earn an average $67,000 less per year than men working in the same field. The pay gap cuts across subspecialties within it, such as reproductive endocrinology, and it holds even after adjusting for years of experience, hours worked and other variables.
And all of that is in spite of women outnumbering men in the field.
The insights come from a study published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
Senior author Malgorzata Skaznik-Wikiel, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and colleagues surveyed 796 board-certified or board-eligible physicians.
Some 215 recipients responded, and their input challenged some common claims about women working fewer hours, taking more time off and choosing less lucrative branches of medicine.
Their study follows an opinion piece recently published in Obstetrics and Gynecology pointing out that women make up 82 percent of physicians entering Ob/Gyn and that the field is the fourth worst of 18 specialties in pay inequity among the sexes.
Skaznik-Wikiel told the university news outlet CU Anshutz Today that women balk at playing hardball over salary because they believe they’ll be perceived as overly aggressive.
“Women also need to step into mentorship roles now more than ever,” she said. “An opportunity exists for practitioners in the field of obstetrics and gynecology and its subspecialties to lead by example in establishing new transparent norms and better policies that create an environment of equity in pay.”
The item noted that, across all medical specialties, women doctors earn about 27.7 percent less—or around $105,000 less per year—than male physicians.
“The first step in addressing the gender gap is acknowledging it exists,” Skaznik-Wikiel added. “Ignorance of this issue is no longer acceptable.”