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Gender Differences in Salaries, Work-Life Balance, and Household Responsibilities of Early and Mid-Career Pediatricians :

September 12, 2019

Women constitute the majority of pediatricians in the United States. How are women pediatricians faring in regard to their earnings relative to men? 

Women constitute the majority of pediatricians in the United States. How are women pediatricians faring in regard to their earnings relative to men?  What does the work-life balance and distribution of household responsibilities differ? Frintner et al. (10.1542/peds.2018-3955) and Starmer et al. (10.1542/peds.2018-2926) have studied these issues in two accompanying papers being early released this week in our journal.  The two studies report on cross-sectional survey results from the AAP Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study (PLACES), a longitudinal study or early and mid-career pediatricians.  In the Frintner et al. study, 2016 salary data was compared between men and women unadjusted and adjusted by labor force (specialty and work hours), physician-specific job characteristics (workload and work-setting), and work-family characteristics (children, needing to work part-time or take family leave).  Women surveyed in 2016 earned $51,000 less, or 78% of what men earned, (or $51,000 less) without any statistical adjustment.  After adjustment, women earned $8,000 less, or 94% of what men earn.  Starmer et al. used 2015 data from the PLACES survey to look at household responsibilities and work-life balance and found women were more likely to assume primary ownership of most household tasks even when adjusting for part-time and spouse/partner status.  The authors also found that women were less happy with how responsibilities were being shared and that work-life balance was anything but balanced.  So should we celebrate the narrowing of salary differentials in the Frintner study or bemoan the fact that women enjoy less work-life balance satisfaction than men?

The salary difference and the discrepancy in work-life balance is concerning.  To shed light on the findings in these studies, we asked Dr. Anita Raj, a social scientist from University of California at San Diego to weigh in with an accompanying commentary (10.1542/peds.2019-2437).  Dr. Raj provides some rationale about the gender disparity and offers potential solutions to narrow and perhaps even eradicate these discrepancies.  Dr. Raj also notes that while women are spending more time at home with family responsibilities, men are concerned that they cannot get the same family time as their female partners.  No matter what your gender, there is good reason to check out both studies and commentary and think about what each of us can do to make sure there is equity, in our field of pediatrics.  We welcome your comments on these important studies and accompanying editorial by sharing your thoughts by responding to this blog, posting a comment on our website when you link to the articles, or sharing your thoughts on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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