Women internists earn less than men whether they are generalists, hospitalists, or sub-specialists

1. The median annual salary gap between male and female respondents was $50 000.

2. Greater gender salary gaps occurred in subspecialists than for general internists.

Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average)

Study Rundown: Although the Equal Pay Act of 1963 resulted in paying different wages to men and women conducting the same work illegal, the salary gap between men and women in the medical profession continues to persist. This salary gap is important, as women make up over 50% of medical school graduates and 36% of internists in the United States. The authors of the study conducted a cross-sectional survey in 2017 to members of the American College of Physicians’ (ACP’s) Internal Medicine Insider Research Panel regarding salary. It was found that there was a key difference between men and women’s salaries for performing the same clinical duties. One limitation of this study was that its small-scale study did not account for important confounders, such as years in practice. Future studies would be needed to examine other  confounding factors.

Click to read the study in Annals of Internal Medicine

Relevant Reading: Sex Differences in Physician Salary in US Public Medical Schools

In-Depth [cross-sectional survey]: The authors of this study conducted a cross-sectional survey to assess the differences in salary between male and female internists. The Panel that they surveyed represented approximately 1% of ACP members that had agreed to participate in research surveys, and the survey achieved a 56% response rates. Students were excluded from the survey, as were respondents that worked part-time. Following inclusion and exclusion criteria, a total of 374 full-time internists were included in the final survey analysis. The mean salary gap for general internists was found to be $29 000; similarly a $38 000 gap was found for hospitalists and a $45 000 gap for subspecialists. The greatest salary gaps were for women and men that acted as primarily physician-educators or physician-researchers.

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