Heart Surgeon’s Viral Thread Exposes Gender Pay Gap Myths In Medicine

Australian heart and lung transplant surgeon Dr. Nikki Stamp wrote a riveting Twitter thread about the gender pay gap in medical professionals across the globe. She challenged several myths and offered some ideas to help solve the gap.

Dr. Stamp expalins first what a gender pay gap is: “an established measure of women’s position in the economy and is the result of social & economic factors that reduce women’s earning capacity”.

She goes on to address a myth that fixing the gap is about creating standard pay grades. However, she says, that doesn’t account for the fact that “the gap is from complex factors and requires cultural change to allow full participation of women in the workforce”.

Dr. Stamp details several countries’ models — she cites that female ENT surgeons earn twenty percent less than their male counterparts. COVID, she says, has made the pay gap situation even worse.

Dr. Stamp then explains the reasons for the pay gap. They include compensation packages, women doctors working longer and doing less lucrative consultations, expectations about women’s fees, a difference in parental leave, women receiving more referrals for lower-paid procedures, and poor career progression.

She makes it clear that having and raising children certainly impacts pay but it is not the only difficulty women face in the medical workplace. Then she asks us “how do we fix this?”

She argues that we should research salaries, offer pay transparency and equitable promotion, remove gender bias, and sponsor women.

She says further that several male colleagues told her the pay gap isn’t real and she wanted to prove that it was, hence her long thread. Medicine, she argues, is still sexist. Denying that is dangerous; it stops us from changing it.