Background: Women constitute an increasing proportion of physicians in the United States. Historically, inequities have existed between male and female physicians in professional advancement, but evidence has suggested that disparities in salary are resolving.
Objective: To examine the current state of salary equity among male and female internists.
Design: Population-based survey mailed to all Board-certified female internists and a matched group of male internists who had graduated from medical school 10 to 30 years ago and were currently practicing.
Participants: 232 male and 213 female internists for whom data were complete.
Measurements: Respondents answered questions about demographic characteristics, training, practice type and setting, status within the practice, family life, and salary.
Results: Women were more likely to be involved in the least lucrative practice arrangements. They were more likely to be in low-paying specialties, to not be a partner in the practice, and to be salaried employees; they also spent fewer hours per week seeing patients. Even after adjustment for these differences, hourly earnings were significantly higher (14%) among men than among their female colleagues. Men's earnings significantly exceeded women's earnings among physicians with no academic affiliation, those in high-earning specialties, and those in general internal medicine.
Conclusions: Significant salary differentials exist between male and female internists overall and in various medical practice settings.