Gender Pay Gap: Female Surgeons Paid 28% Less Than Male Counterparts – Here are the Reasons Why

Female surgeons in Canada’s reproductive healthcare system are paid 28% less than their male counterparts, with larger gaps in some provinces.

A Concerning Gender Pay Gap

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A recent study in Canada shows female surgeons performing procedures on female patients are paid 28% less on average than male surgeons conducting similar surgeries on male patients, revealing a troubling gender pay gap in reproductive health care.

Deep Concern Among Medical Professionals

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The findings, published in the Canadian Journal of Surgery on July 4, have sparked deep concern among medical professionals and advocacy groups, as the disparity appears to be particularly pronounced in certain provinces. 

The Shocking Discrepancy

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Saskatchewan tops the list of the eight provinces, exhibiting a shocking discrepancy of 67%, followed by British Columbia at 61% and Yukon at 41%.

Speaking Out 

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One of the leading voices speaking out against these disheartening statistics is Joanne Sivertson, the provincial department head for Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN) in Saskatchewan. 

The Numbers Are Very Disappointing

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Despite being desensitized to gender disparities due to her professional experience, Sivertson finds the numbers deeply disappointing and considers the situation demeaning to women.

The Surgeries Are Essentially the Same

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The research examined similar procedures carried out on both male and female reproductive organs, revealing that surgeons receive higher compensation for performing biopsies on male genitalia compared to female genitalia, even though the procedures are essentially the same. 

Double Discrimination

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Michael Chaikof, one of the study’s authors and an OB-GYN and urogynecologist at Sunnybrook in Toronto, referred to this discrepancy as “double discrimination.”

Most Gynos Are Women

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Notably, he also highlighted that the majority of surgeons in the gynecology field are women, making the gender pay gap all the more troubling.

Undervaluation of Care for Women

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Experts suggest that historic policies and the undervaluation of care for women have contributed to the perpetuation of these disparities over the years. 

Significant Corrective Measures Needed

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Pay increases are often calculated by percentage, further entrenching the under-evaluation of women’s care.

Significant corrective measures will be needed to achieve gender equality in medical compensation and resource allocation.

Attitudes Persist Today

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One telling incident shared by Sivertson from her time as a medical student reflects the attitudes that persist today.

A male OB-GYN teacher expressed concern that only women were entering obstetrics and gynecology, suggesting that it would undermine the profession’s credibility. 

The Dangerous Procedures Are on Women

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The discrepancies in pay become even more concerning when considering that some procedures, though more difficult and dangerous when performed on women, still receive lower compensation. 

The Complexity and Risks Of These Surgeries

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Sivertson highlighted a specific procedure where untwisting an ovary requires entry into the abdominal cavity, making it more complex and riskier than untwisting a testicle.

However, the former is paid 50% less than the latter, highlighting the urgent need for recognizing and rectifying these imbalances.

The Need for More Resources

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Recognizing these disparities is seen as the crucial first step toward effecting change. Sivertson emphasizes the need for more resources to be allocated to women’s care, particularly in provinces struggling to provide basic women’s health services.

Gender Equality in Healthcare

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Medical professionals hope that this study will drive provincial medical associations to revisit their fee schedules through a gender equity lens.

By empowering surgeons to advocate for gender equality, meaningful changes are expected to be made to close the gender pay gap.

Changes Will Be Complex

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Dr. Annette Epp, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), acknowledged that fee structure adjustments can be complex but conveyed the association’s commitment to addressing the issue through the lens of gender equality. 

They Need Comprehensive Reform

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She lamented that Saskatchewan is lagging the most in the country in this regard, signaling the need for comprehensive reform.

The Modernization of Payment Schedules

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In response to an interview request, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health stated that physicians directly bill the government for each insured service provided.

The ministry and the SMA are working towards modernizing the payment schedule to ensure consistent, equitable, and appropriate payments to practitioners offering insured health services.

Disparities in Men and Women

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The study’s revelations sparked a crucial conversation about recognizing and correcting disparities in women’s healthcare compared to men’s.

Things Need to Change

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It urged society and the medical profession to take action for better outcomes and equality.

The Path to Gender Equality

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The path toward true gender equality in the reproductive healthcare system requires collective action, commitment, and continuous advocacy.

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The post Gender Pay Gap: Female Surgeons Paid 28% Less Than Male Counterparts – Here are the Reasons Why first appeared on Wealthy Living.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

Source : canjsurg.ca

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