Compensation in Academic Medicine: Progress Toward Gender Equity
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- Wright, A.L., Ryan, K., St. Germain, P. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2007) 22: 1398. doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0329-7
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Studies have documented substantial salary disparities between women and men in academic medicine. While various strategies have been proposed to increase equity, to our knowledge, no interventions have been evaluated.
This paper aims to assess the effect of an identity-conscious intervention on salary equity.
This study shows comparison of adjusted annual salaries for women and men before and after an intervention.
We studied full time faculty employed in FY00 (n = 393) and FY04 (n = 462) in one College of Medicine.
Compensation data were obtained from personnel databases for women and men, and adjusted for predictors. After verification of data accuracy by departments, comparable individuals within the same department who had different salaries were identified. The Dean discussed apparent disparities with department heads, and salaries were adjusted.
Total adjusted annualized salaries were compared for men and women for the year the project began and the year after the intervention using multivariate models. Female faculty members’ salaries were also considered as a percent of male faculty members’ salaries.
Twenty-one potential salary disparities were identified. Eight women received equity adjustments to their salaries, with the average increase being $17,323. Adjusted salaries for women as a percent of salary for men increased from 89.4% before the intervention to 93.5% after the intervention. Disparities in compensation were no longer significant in FY2004 in basic science departments, where women were paid 97.6% of what men were paid.
This study shows that gender disparities in compensation can be reduced through careful documentation, identification of comparable individuals paid different salaries, and commitment from leadership to hold the appropriate person accountable.