Gabriela Cora, M.D., M.B.A.

Gabriela Cora M.D., M.B.A.

Alpha Females

Why do women medical doctors receive less pay?

Do women doctors receive less pay for equal work?

Posted Feb 05, 2011

Wall Street Journal's recent article describes how women doctors receive less pay for equal work as compared to their male counterparts.

I distinctly recall being in a woman doctors' session a few years ago. My colleagues were complaining about gender disparities regarding opportunities and how they made less money even when performing similar jobs in healthcare settings.

As a young clinical research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, my pay was equivalent to my fellow colleagues: we were federal employees. There was an interesting difference, though. Of three fellows, I was the only one who was a woman, married, and with children. One of my colleagues was married without children and the other one was single. It was quite obvious my colleagues invested more research hours than I did. Although I started private practice - and even moonlighted at the time - my dedication to the fellowship was 40+ hours whereas my colleagues included more work hours.

I mentioned this at the woman physician session and had nasty looks piercing through me. I candidly shared how my colleagues brought in more work hours and higher production, and I believed it was only fair they'd get credit for it. At the end of the session, a couple of women colleagues approached me and told me they disagreed: many women were, indeed, doing exactly the same kind of work and being paid a lot less. A male doctor and department chair of a prominent program approached me after the session too. He thanked me for daring speak what few men would dare say in public.

What are your thoughts?

Do you believe to have performed similar work to your male counterparts and to having been paid a lot less? What did you do? Did you address this problem with your employer?