Over the past week WIN tweeted two articles related to the sad reality that female medical researchers are not doing as well as as their male counterparts. A study in the European Heart Journal showed that women are 50% less likely than men to have their work published in a peer reviewed journal. Simultaneously, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article (written by a woman, no less) indicating that female physician researchers earn lower salaries than their male colleagues, even when statistics are adjusted for specialty, academic rank, leadership positions, publications and research time. So the question is – what the heck is up with that?
It’s often suggested that women publish less often and receive less pay than men because of personal choices they make to spend personal time at home with their families rather than on other extraccuricular professional activities. Interestingly, the men in the JAMA study were more likely to be married and have children than the women.
Another explanation for pay and professional advancement discrepencies deals with the idea that women are less likely to pursue higher paying specialities (such as interventional cardiology) than men. WIN has certainly found this to be true, with women making up less than 10% of board certified interventionalists in the United States (with similar numbers outside of the US).
Some may feel there is a generational divide, with those later on in the careers, and with decision making power, more likely to fall prey to stereotyping and other, “old school” ways of thinking about women in the work place. Between the older generation and those younger women of childbaring age making up almost the entire workforce, it might make sense that women have not yet caught up. Perhaps time is all we need to bridge the gap.
As we wait, and as data continues to show that inequalities still exist, it is important for women to continue to speak out, work hard and encourage each other. We hope that WIN provides such an opportunity.