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Medicine Has A Problem With Female Doctors, Survey Shows

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    Think male and female physicians are treated equally? Think again, a new survey says.

    More than three-quarters of female physicians say they have experienced gender-based discrimination, according to a new survey from the physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins. That discrimination includes unequal pay for equal work, inappropriate comments or actions from colleagues, and inappropriate comments or actions from patients.

    This is despite the fact that recent research has shown that female physicians see patient outcomes that are just as good as their male colleagues. One study shows that mortality rates between male and female physicians are comparable. Another study indicates that female physicians engage in more patient-centered communication.

    The annual Merritt Hawkins Survey of Women in Medicine queried 429 women about their experiences in practice. The survey creators say there is a 4.7% margin of error on subjective factors such as pay disparities.

    Widespread harassment

    Of the physicians surveyed, 75% said they had been subjected to “inappropriate words or actions” from fellow doctors. Incidences of this type of harassment weren’t confined to colleagues. Female physicians reported that 56% had experienced the same from employers or managers. Twenty-three percent had been subjected to inappropriate words or actions from patients. Forty-one percent said they have experienced sexual harassment.

    Workplace discrimination is also causing a pay gap, the survey says. Female physicians are not receiving equal pay for equal work. Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed physicians believe they make less than their male colleagues, even when adjusting for specialty choice and work hours. Additionally, 39% of the female doctors say they make less than the male physicians in their current practice.

    ‘Profound impact’

    “Women are entering medicine in record numbers and are having a profound impact on the

    medical profession,” Travis Singleton, executive vice president of Merritt Hawkins, said in a news release. “However, despite these achievements, female physicians continue to be paid less than their male counterparts and face other forms of workplace discrimination.”

    All of this discrimination is damaging to female physicians, the survey says. Seventy-three percent of the doctors who responded say discrimination has hurt their morale. Some (44%) have even sought a new practice setting because of gender-based harassment. It’s even forced 32% to weigh early retirement, the survey says.

    Pay gap begins early

    According to Meritt Hawkins, the survey data suggests that pay disparity between male and female physicians begins early in doctors’ careers. About 40% of surveyed female physicians said they make less than their male counterparts in their specialties. The female doctors said the pay gap was due to the fact that they earned a lower base salary and/or production bonus than the males.

    Meritt Hawkins says that taking this into consideration, one can extrapolate that the early career pay gap results in female doctors playing from behind throughout their careers.

    “If this is the case, female physicians could chase that lost income for their entire careers, losing

    hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process,” Singleton said in the news release.

    Why the disparity?

    The surveyed female physicians (76% of them) pointed to unconscious employer bias as the root of the pay gap. As for other reasons behind the disparity in compensation, more than two-thirds of the female doctors said they tend to be less aggressive or skilled in negotiation than their male counterparts. This, they said, is the second most important reason behind the pay gap, behind unconscious employer bias.

    But the discrimination wasn’t all unconscious. The survey respondents said that because female physicians tend to spend more time with patients and are less likely to be practice owners, they are therefore likely to be paid less.


    A new Merritt Hawkins survey shows that 76% of women have experienced some form of discrimination in their careers. Some other standout survey results:
    • 75% of respondents have experienced “inappropriate words or actions” from fellow doctors
    • 74% say they believe they earn less than males, even when adjusting for speciality choice and work hours
    • 73% say discrimination has had a negative effect on their morale
    • 56% say managers or employers have directed inappropriate words or actions at them
    • 44% have looked to change practice settings, due to discrimination
    • 41% report instances of sexual harassment during their careers
    • 39% say they earn less than the men in their current practice
    • 32% have weighed early retirement, due to harassment and discrimination
    • 23% have experienced inappropriate words or actions from patients

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