Equal Pay for Equal Work Still Not Achieved
While efforts have been made to address the gender pay gap in many professions, more work and education is still needed to achieve parity.
The gap that many lawyers experience is shared by other professionals, such as physicians.
A recent study conducted by researchers for the Ontario Medical Association attempted to de-bunk the myth that the gap exists simply because women chose to work less. Instead, after reviewing billings between April 2017 and March 2018, it found women earned 32.8% less annually and 22.5% less daily. When controls for geography and specialty were added, male doctors still earned 13.5% more than their female colleagues, higher than the 11% gap often cited for Canadian workers.
The researchers suggested that during medical school, women are still being pushed towards more “female friendly” specialties. Further, when work depends on referrals, women may have few opportunities to build their practice. Finally, in fee-for-service billing which should not discriminate between men and women, the longer a doctor takes with a patient, the less the doctor is paid. An American study found that female doctors spend more time with their patients, which may provide better quality patient care but is less lucrative for the doctor. These same types of biases are faced by many female lawyers practicing in Canada.
For the doctors, a month after the study was published, a twitter poll of 471 ER doctors was released. When asked whether there was a gender wage disparity in their ER department, 35.2% answered that they did not think any gap existed. Better education for all seems like a crucial next step.
About the Author
Jennifer Woznesensky is a partner at Harper Grey and practices with the firm’s Insurance and Health Law groups. An active volunteer, Jennifer is a director of the B.C. Chapter of the Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade, which raises funds for cancer research. She is one of the original LiL Advisors and has written a number of Dear LiL Blog posts.