Published in the March 2016 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
In the years that we’ve been surveying hospitalists, I’ve always been puzzled by one consistent finding: Female hospitalists report earning substantially less money than their male peers.
This has never made sense to me. Many of the groups we talk to say they pay all their physicians the same. In part, that’s because there is so much competition for hospitalists that physicians can easily find another job if they feel they’re not being paid—or treated—fairly.
Over the years, I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why women hospitalists make less than men. Women are less willing to pick up extra shifts, for instance, they’re not as aggressive when it comes to negotiating pay and they don’t ask for extra pay for extra duties.
In our cover story we look at the gender gap in hospital medicine. While many of the people we talked to say they see some bias, they are bullish about how female hospitalists are faring in the specialty.
Our coverage details some of the problems women face because of gender, but very few say they experience overt discrimination. Moreover, many sources say hospital medicine gives women more flexibility than other specialties, which can be a big satisfier for women. They also say the field offers a fair amount of transparency when it comes to compensation, so it’s easier to explain differences.
More can be done, particularly in terms of offering more flexible schedules and promoting more women to leadership roles. But the good news is that plenty of female physicians are shaping hospital medicine.
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