Women Doctors Earn Less Than Men

The Physician Compensation and Production survey found that women doctors still earn significantly less than do male doctors. Women’s pay trailed men’s by tens of thousands, and by more than $100,000 per year in some lucrative, specialized fields.

The survey, conducted each year by the Medical Group Management Association, is based on responses from 36,000 physicians. Doctors were asked to report their total compensation, including bonuses and honoraria. The survey also considered the number of patients doctors had seen and how much the physician’s patients were charged for services.

The pay gap was attributed to several factors. First, women doctors spent more time with their patients than did male doctors, which may explain why women doctors saw more patients on average than did male doctors. Since male doctors still earned more per patient, female doctors were effectively paid less for working longer.

The survey did not measure the seniority of doctors, so it could be that male doctors still have more seniority than women doctors, and thus can charge more. Another explanation for the pay gap might be that men are more likely than women to receive lucrative side-line work as biotechnology consultants or as speakers for pharmaceutical companies.


New York Times - January 12, 1999

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