How to Close the Gender Pay Gap in U.S. Medicine
by Lisa S. Rotenstein and Jessica Dudley
Data from the Harvard Kennedy School shows that women negotiate for lower compensation than men do in the absence of clear industry standards but negotiate for equal salaries when standard salary information was available, suggesting the value of creating environments in which information about compensation is shared across gender lines.
Indefensible differences in salary between women and men persist in medicine, with female primary care and specialist doctors earning 25% and 36% less, respectively, than their male counterparts. These differences are especially egregious given that female physicians actually outperform male physicians in some areas. It’s hard to imagine by what calculus a healthcare organization would pay women less than men for their better outcomes. The solutions to this unacceptable state include transparency around salary data, focused coaching and sponsorship, and equitable promotions.
Organizations should pursue three approaches to address the problem:
- Enhance Salary Data and Transparency for Total Compensation
- Engage Allies in Coaching and Sponsorship
- Facilitate Equitable Promotion