It takes years of hard work to get your M.D., but not all doctors are treated equally in the medical field. Gender discrimination is a major problem in the medical field and needs to be addressed in a manner that benefits not only female physicians but the entire field.
Gender disparities in the medical field
Gender discrimination occurs frequently in the medical field. Women are discriminated against in job duties, in pay and in grant funding. A 2021 report found that male physicians were paid the same or more than female physicians across all medical specialties. A 2020 study found that the pay gap in the medical field was one of the largest gender pay gaps in the U.S., with female physicians earning only 75 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned.
One study reports 70% of female physician participants stated they faced gender bias or gender-specific obstacles in the workplace, even though 2019 was the first year that the majority of students in American medical schools were women. And a 2016 study reported that female physicians performed better than male physicians with regards to patient mortality and likelihood of returning to the hospital.
A chilling effect
Female physicians report being retaliated against for exercising their maternity leave rights. Some women physicians have even been questioned about the nature of their relationship with colleagues, even though their male counterparts did not face the same scrutiny.
Female physicians report being placed on administrative leave with no explanation for complaining about their working conditions. This can lead to shame and has a chilling effect on reporting employer misconduct.
Changing workplace culture
There are ways workplace culture in the medical field can be improved. Anonymous pay transparency can help identify pay gaps. Ensuring all workers get credit for their work can help ensure promotions are properly made. Ultimately, gender discrimination affects the entire medical system, and steps need to be taken to ensure decisions are based on equality.