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Academia and the Profession |

Compensation and Advancement of Women in Academic Medicine: Is There Equity?

Arlene S. Ash, PhD; Phyllis L. Carr, MD; Richard Goldstein, PhD; and Robert H. Friedman, MD*
[+] Article and Author Information

From Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.


*Drs. Ash and Carr contributed equally to this manuscript.

Acknowledgments: The authors thank Dr. Mark Moskowitz, deceased, for his thoughtful insights and contributions to this project. Thirty questions used in the survey are based on work by Drs. Linda Fried and Clair Francomano at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Grant Support: By the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, grant no. 019600.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Phyllis Carr, MD, Office of Student Affairs, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, L109, Boston, MA 02118; e-mail, plcarr@bu.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Ash: General Internal Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, DOB 1108, Boston, MA 02118.

Dr. Carr: Office of Student Affairs, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, L109, Boston, MA 02118.

Dr. Goldstein: 37 Kirkwood Road, Brighton, MA 02135.

Dr. Friedman: MED Info Systems Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, DOB 1102, Boston, MA 02118.


Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(3):205-212. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-3-200408030-00009
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Background: Women have been entering academic medicine in numbers at least equal to their male colleagues for several decades. Most studies have found that women do not advance in academic rank as fast as men and that their salaries are not as great. These studies, however, have typically not had the data to examine equity, that is, do women receive similar rewards for similar achievement?

Objective: To examine equity in promotion and salary for female versus male medical school faculty nationally.

Design: Mailed survey questionnaire.

Setting: 24 randomly selected medical schools in the contiguous United States.

Participants: 1814 full-time U.S. medical school faculty in 1995–1996, stratified by sex, specialty, and graduation cohort.

Measurements: Promotion and compensation of academic medical faculty.

Results: Among the 1814 faculty respondents (response rate, 60%), female faculty were less likely to be full professors than were men with similar professional roles and achievement. For example, 66% of men but only 47% of women (P < 0.01) with 15 to 19 years of seniority were full professors. Large deficits in rank for senior faculty women were confirmed in logistic models that accounted for a wide range of other professional characteristics and achievements, including total career publications, years of seniority, hours worked per week, department type, minority status, medical versus nonmedical final degree, and school. Similar multivariable modeling also confirmed gender inequity in compensation. Although base salaries of nonphysician faculty are gender comparable, female physician faculty have a noticeable deficit (−$11 691; P = 0.01). Furthermore, both physician and nonphysician women with greater seniority have larger salary deficits (−$485 per year of seniority; P = 0.01).

Limitations: This is a cross-sectional study of a longitudinal phenomenon. No data are available for faculty who are no longer working full-time in academic medicine, and all data are self-reported.

Conclusions: Female medical school faculty neither advance as rapidly nor are compensated as well as professionally similar male colleagues. Deficits for female physicians are greater than those for nonphysician female faculty, and for both physicians and nonphysicians, women's deficits are greater for faculty with more seniority.

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