$16,819 for a Penis

Apr 12 2011 Published by under [Education&Careers]

April 12, 2011, marks the day when women will earn the same amount men did for working from January 1, 2010. Women take nearly 16 months to earn what men earn in 12 months.

"My penis is worth $17,000." "I don't think so..." (Click for Source)

Even as women move into highly paid fields, their wages lag behind their male counterparts; medicine is no exception. Some surveys suggested that the difference came down to women's choices: lower-paying specialties, part-time hours, and other "life-style" issues. Time away to have babies and care for relatives would also slow growth of their earnings. We girly doctors were lucky to get paid at all, I guess.


Then this study came along:

Lo Sasso et al: The $16,819 Pay Gap for Newly Trained Physicians: The Unexplained Trend of Men Earning More Than Women. Health Affairs 30:193, 2011

This group examined starting salaries of newly trained physicians entering clinical practice in New York State, and found a wage gap as in every other study. By examining starting salary, they wanted to take leaves of absence out of the equation and look at the value of a freshly trained clinician. They then examined a whole bunch of variables to explain differences, including 45 different specialties, 8 different practice types, multiple locations characteristics, and expected hours of patient care per week. The gender gap in compensation persisted across all of these variables. They also looked at these data over time, from 1999 through 2008, and found that the wage gap widened, even as women became as likely as men to enter more lucrative, non-primary-care specialties.

The authors conclude that women may be working out employment arrangements that benefit them in non-financial ways beyond the scope of their data.

I conclude that women doctors often get a raw deal.

The Paycheck Fairness Act will be re-introduced in congress this week. Please let your representatives know that pay equity is not a luxury; it's just being fair.

15 responses so far

  • Raven Storm Crow says:

    Uh, excuse me, you obviously did not read the report that said the main reason women earn less than men is because they don't ask for raises right out front when they are due and fail to follow through to make sure they get them.

  • Kaija says:

    Try looking at a wide swath of the research to get a full picture of the complexity of the issue: http://tinyurl.com/6jymsy5

  • Raven Storm Crow says:

    Very good Kaija! One of the most salient points in that paper reinforces the article that I cited.

    "Men and women are fundamentally different creatures. Swagger paves the way to

    successful venture capital deals [and]…women are often not comfortable talking

    about what they are worth. They'll go in to pitch a project and naturally put a

    lower value on it than men do (Almer, 2000)."

    I have seen this dynamic many, many times in my life. Men will over state the value of what they are offering and will let the management position talk them down a few cents whereas women tend to put forth the minimum value and then have no place to negotiate down to.

  • Raven Storm Crow says:

    I beleieve that one of the major reasons women tend to undervalue and are uncomfortable discussing their "dollar" value in the work marketplace is that when they think of themselves in terms of money they subconciously equate stating their dollar value as an equation of prostitution.

    It was not too long back in our history that when a woman stood up and said, "Hey, I am worth \(.\) per hour." men would snicker and make crude remarks, even in the workplace.

    Look deep inside your personal feelings and see if the phrase, "I am worth a lot more money than I am getting for this." doesn't give YOU a twinge of discomfort.

  • WhizBANG! says:

    So if a company can get an equally trained woman physician for $17,000 less than a male one, why do so many pay more for the man? If it is just women not asking, the market should favor them, and men's salaries should drop to the same level. Or at least that's what I remember from economics...

  • AmoebaMike says:

    If you've ever been in a men's room, you'll know that a penis also grants the wielder the right to put urine in every location of the stall except the actual toilet. At least, that's what it seems like to me.

  • Kaija says:

    Try again, TSC...this time without drawing the curve and then picking the data that fit your a priori conclusion. It appears that women don't negotiate or don't negotiate enough? The next logical step would be to ask "Why?" Which is where the bulk of the paper I linked to does a very thorough job of looking at the variety of variables at play and the outcomes of many studies. As stated, it's a complex situation, chock full of what we in the research biz call "confounding variables" that negate the sloppy correlation = causation (as in "penis=better negotiator" or "biology=fate" conclusions.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    People trained in negotiation go in with at least three thought out positions. First you go for one which gives you the best you can reasonably expect to get. Probably, but not always, you get negotiated down to the pretty good deal position, and, if you cannot get at least the worst result you are willing to live with, then negotiations need to be broken off or at least recessed,

    I think training women in negotiation would be very beneficial for them.

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