It is well-documented that women in America earn less than men in all fields of work, including healthcare, where women make up the majority of highly-skilled workers. According to a CNN/Money report http://cnnmon.ie/1I0YAcg, female workers earn only $0.68 for every $1.00 a male worker earns. That is clearly unfair and this huge disparity has negative impacts not only on the female worker herself, but also her family and on society as a whole.
Deep and Wide Disparity
Although 46% of physicians-in-training and nearly half of all medical students are female, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges http://bit.ly/1PDsndJ, there persists a huge disparity in the pay of physicians based on their sex. According to JAMA http://bit.ly/2dCsTBY female academic physicians earn a whopping $51,315 a year less than their male counterparts, for the same work.
This gap persists across all disciplines in healthcare: Female physical therapists earn 12% less annually than male P.T.s http://bit.ly/2eDvmtC, even though women are the majority (64%) of licensed physical therapists. For occupational therapists, the gap is even more glaring: 90.9% of OTs are women, but they earn 14.7% less than their male co-workers. For nurses, the gender pay gap persists- 90.6% of nurses are women, but they earn 10% less than their male counterparts, according to JAMA: http://ow.ly/mc68305tngu
Causes and Concerns
The causes of these persistent, wide-spread and unsettling gender differences in healthcare worker pay are many and complex. There appears to be a few reasons that the gender wage gap persists, but the explanations are not encouraging. One cited reason is due to educational differences but, as noted above, women are still earning less than men for the same job with the same qualifications. Another, more disturbing, reason is due to “explanations that range from overt sexism to unintentional gender-based discrimination to reluctance among women to negotiate for higher pay.” (http://ow.ly/Eq4m305trth) These causes account for as much as 40% of all gender pay inequalities. This is not acceptable, nor should it be accepted.
Addressing the Problem
A problem this large and this entrenched is not going to disappear overnight, but there are ways that we, as a society, as clinicians, as hiring managers, can address the gender pay gap head-on. One way is to use new employment platforms, such as Freelance Clinician (https://freelanceclinician.com/), which allows medical professionals and healthcare facilities to engage, negotiate and get paid on medical services contracts directly, avoiding costly and time-consuming staffing agencies. These staffing agencies take 50% or more of the (majority female) clinician’s earnings. By cutting the costly staffing agency out entirely, Freelance Clinician allows the medical professional to charge the facility less, while still earning much more. Also, Freelance Clinician verifies, validates and anonymizes both the medical professional’s and the healthcare facility’s identity, allowing the two parties to interact safely, securely and with confidence that the other party is who they say they are, and not a staffing agency looking to exploit clinicians.
This initial anonymity is a critical reason why Freelance Clinician stands alone in addressing the egregious gender pay gap in healthcare. By allowing the validated medical professional to initially propose their job bid to the healthcare facility anonymously, Freelance Clinician strips out the gender-bias found in the hiring process, and lets the healthcare facility hiring managers base their decisions on the merits of the candidates, and not on their gender. It is only after the healthcare facility has opened the bid proposal that the two parties will have access to each other's contact and professional information, to include the clinician’s gender.
Equal Work, Equal Pay
The gender pay gap in all healthcare professions, from the unfair pay differences between female physicians, to that of nurses and of therapists is real, significant, and persistent, regardless of the level of education. This is wrong and bad for the economy, and society as a whole, and not just for the female clinician. By leveling the playing field, Freelance Clinician has provided a new, exciting, and fair way for women to close the healthcare gender pay gap and finally earn what they deserve- equal pay for equal work.