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Addressing Gender Inequality in Pediatricians

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Two critical papers in pediatric academic medicine are published today addressing a hot topic in the public – the wage and household responsibility gap between men and women. These articles, being published in the journal Pediatrics, provide evidence from a long-term study funded by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stating three important details: women pediatricians are making significantly less money than their male counterparts in similar positions, they spend more time on household responsibilities and report feeling less satisfied with their work-life balance.

“There is a well-known gender gap in earnings in the United States, and we found that pediatricians reflect that imbalance,” Bobbi Byrne, MD, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Vice Chair of Pediatric Education at Indiana University School of Medicine is one of the authors on both papers – “Gender Differences in Pediatricians’ Earnings of Early and Midcareer Pediatricians” and “Gender Discrepancies Related to Pediatrician Work-Life Balance and Household Responsibilities”.

The study, known as Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study (PLACES), polled over 1,000 early and mid-career pediatricians from across the United States participating in primary care, subspecialty and hospitalist work. They took into account many different factors such as number of work hours, subspecialty training and geographic locations. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that in 2017, the earnings wage ratio between men and women in the U.S. was 80%. Analysis of the PLACES study demonstrated that female pediatricians earn 94% of what their male counterparts earn even after correcting for multiple variables such as specialty, part vs full time status, and choices made to accommodate work environment. While the gap is much smaller than the national average, the results are still a staggering 6% percent overall difference in wages for female and male pediatricians.

“I feel that with my job here at Indiana University, I am being compensated fairly, but that doesn’t change the evidence that we have for women across the nation. For problems such as the wage gap to be addressed, we have to present the proper evidence.” Byrne was recently appointed to the Executive Subcommittee of the Women’s Advisory Council at IU School of Medicine, a council she has served on since 2014.

The Women’s Advisory Council’s goal is to create a culture at IU School of Medicine that promotes the advancement of women in medicine and science. They help create development workshops and seminars at the University such as IUPUI’s recent Women’s Conference and the Stepping Stones of Women in Leadership workshop. IU School of Medicine places an emphasis on creating an environment that helps empowers women in medicine.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Author

Ashley Wilson

Ashley Wilson is a Communications Specialist in the Department of Pediatrics. She has worked in Pediatrics since graduating with her degree from Indiana University.