A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that female doctors are earning considerably more than male doctors, and a second study of Medicare reimbursements confirms that women are out-earning men by an astonishing 88% in annual Medicare reimbursements. In terms of gross income, female doctors out-earn male ones, but a closer examination of the data reveals that on a per service delivered model, male doctors earn more than their female counterparts.
There are several explanations for this large gap in earnings between women and men in the medical profession, none of which have anything to do with sexism or misandry, contrary to claims made by masculist media commentators. Female physicians see approximately 60% more patients than men: 512/yr versus 320/yr, respectively. Female physicians also deliver more services per patient, chalking up 5.7 services billed per patient compared to men’s 4.7. This gap held true across almost all specialities, with women delivering more services per patient than men. Assuming all services are medically necessary, female doctors deliver better healthcare than men to each patient.
Female doctors earn an average of $118, 782/yr from medicare. Multiplying 513 patients by 5.7 services (2924 services provided in total) and dividing the annual income by this number gives us a per service fee of $40.62. Male doctors earn an average of $63, 346, providing 4.7 services to 320 patients (1504 services provided in total) for an average per service fee of $42.11. Men doctors earn $1.49 more per service rendered than women.
In Canada, the UK and the US, there is a looming shortage of primary care physicians, also known as general practitioners or family doctors, because these non-specialized forms of medicine appeal to men doctors, who also prefer to work part time or not at all when they have young children. Dr. Brian Day, the head of the Canadian Medical Association notes that men doctors ‘will not work the same hours or have the same lifespan of contributions to the medical system as females’, exacerbating a medical system already strained by baby-boomer demographics. Since nearly half of all men doctors marry other doctors, they are not compelled by economic circumstances to provide for their families, permitting men doctors to work greatly reduced hours, by choice. According to an article published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine, ‘differences [between women and men and hours worked] reflect personal choices that will increasingly affect the profession as more physicians marry physicians.’
Most of the so-called wage gap comes down to men’s personal choices, and women’s willingness to contribute more to their families in terms of earned income, which is neither sexist nor misandrist. When Forbes Magazine surveyed working men in America, an astonishing 84% of men agreed that staying home was a ‘luxury’ they aspired to, indicating that the wage gap may be a privilege for men – the privilege of not being required to contribute to a family financially to the full extent of his ability. For men doctors, this privilege is compounded not only by having the luxury of choice, but in earning more money per service delivered than women, who work longer hours, see more patients, and deliver more services to patients overall.
The wage gap in medicine, measured in terms of services rendered, disadvantages women, not men.