CMA Journal article suggests female doctors earn less due to systemic biases in profession


An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests female doctors consistently earn less than men because of systemic biases that pervade the medical profession.
Dr. Tara Kiran at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and Dr. Michelle Cohen of Queen's University used public data to examine the relationship between the proportion of women in a specialty and average earnings across Canada.
They found female doctors are underrepresented in top-earning medical specialities and paid less for equivalent work because of structural inequities that follow them throughout their career.
Kiran and Cohen found that women account for less than 35 per cent of doctors in the 10 specialities with the highest incomes, including radiology, ophthalmology and cardiology.
By contrast, female doctors made up roughly half or more of the workforce in lower-paying specialities, such as family medicine, psychiatry and pediatrics.
They also say female doctors earn less on average than their male counterparts within the same field.
Ontario Medical Association data shows men in family medicine make 30 per cent more than women, while the gender discrepancy for specialists was 40 per cent.
Kiran says the issues start as early as medical school, where women encounter a ``hidden curriculum'' that points many toward lower-paid specialties.