More women are
working today as pediatricians, yet women earn significantly less than men in
similar positions. They also spend more time on household responsibilities and
report feeling less satisfied with their work-life balance.
Those are the
findings of two critical papers published from the American Academy of
Pediatrics’ (AAP) Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study (PLACES), a
long-term study of early and mid-career pediatricians. The studies, “Gender Differences in Pediatricians’ Earnings of Early- and Mid-career Pediatricians,”
and “Gender Discrepancies Related to Pediatrician Work-Life Balance and Household Responsibilities,” will be published in the October 2019 Pediatrics
(published online Sept. 10).
“There is a
well-known gender gap in earnings in the United States, and we found that
pediatricians reflect that imbalance,” said Bobbi J. Byrne, MD, FAAP, an author
on both papers. “Women earn less than men, even when personal and professional
characteristics are taken into account, such as whether they have children, the
number of hours they work, and their clinical specialty.”
“We found that
female pediatricians do most of the household work, like meal preparation,
cleaning, and routine care of children,” said Amy J. Starmer, MD, MPH, FAAP, an
author on both papers. “We know that work-life balance is important for career
satisfaction and productivity. This is an area that deserves focused
About 1,000 early
and mid-career pediatricians were surveyed in 2016 for the earnings study. The
average annual earnings of PLACES participants, who were five to 14 years past
residency, was $190,000. When considering pay differences, researchers took
into account many factors including work hours, subspecialty training,
ownership (of practice) status and geographic location.
Even in the best-case scenario,
when adjusting for all available factors, women earned 94% of what men
earned, a gap of about $8,000 per year at the early and mid-career stage.
estimated 3% inflation each year, a discrepancy of $8,000 is estimated to
amount to $229,000 over 20 years and $400,000 over 30 years.
Before any adjustment for personal
and professional characteristics, women earned 76% of what men earn, or
about $51,000 less per year.
1,300 pediatricians also were surveyed on characteristics of their work-life
balance in 2015. The research found:
Female pediatricians are more likely
to report having the primary responsibility for 13 of 16 tasks such as
cleaning, cooking, and routine care of their children. For example, 62% of
women and 17% of men reported having primary responsibility for laundry,
and 52% of women and 6% of men reported being primarily responsible for
their child’s homework.
About half of women and one-third of men reported hiring
help for cleaning, and fewer reported hiring help for other household
Women were more likely than men
to report feeling rushed and were less likely to report achieving success
in balancing their job as a pediatrician with other areas of their life.
in the field of pediatrics need to make sure that we appropriately value and
compensate all pediatricians fairly and equitably for the good of our
profession,” said Gary Freed, MD, MPH, FAAP, an author on both papers.
of every 10 U.S. pediatricians are women; seven in 10 graduating pediatric
residents are women, according to workforce data.
to past generations, pediatrics has made strides in increasing workplace
flexibility, yet women still face challenges with professional advancement,”
said Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. “The Academy is committed to
the support of gender equity in the pediatric workforce. The information
in these studies provides data to inform the profession’s discussion on the
current status of gender equity and strategies needed going forward.”
launched in 2012, is an ongoing study of early to mid-career pediatricians
tracking the careers of those who completed residency in 2002-04 and
2009-11. The project includes a representative mix of general
pediatricians, subspecialists and hospitalists, and includes both AAP members
and nonmembers. This project will continue to gather the perspective of
pediatricians starting their careers, with new participants who finished
residency in 2016-2018 to be included in future analysis.
available is a solicited commentary, “The Gender Wage Gap in Pediatrics: Are things getting better or worse?” published in the same Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds