-“Doctor…I was only too happy to be accepted—and I was hoodwinked.”

Allison X. is a promising academic star that had just gotten an acceptance letter from a South Florida college to join it as an assistant professor. After a few days she was dismayed to find out that she would be earning 20% less than her similarly qualified male colleagues just because she was a woman. There was no other logical explanation for that infamy.

Anupam B. Jenna et al. studied the salary data of public universities in 12 American states, including 24 medical schools, which are very competitive. The physician database had information on sex, age, years of experience, faculty rank, specialty, scientific authorship, official funding, participation in clinical trials and reimbursements from Medicare, a major public payor.

The blatant discrimination was not limited to pay and benefits but it also included the possibilities of academic advancement provided by authorship of major articles (as the first or senior author), receive funding from the NIH or conduct clinical trials in partnership with the pharmaceutical companies…And then we hypocritically worry about why Bob, and not Jane, finally gets all the goodies at the end of the day…

They said that “among physicians with faculty appointments at 24 US public medical schools, significant sex differences in salary exist even after accounting for age experience, specialty, faculty rank, and measures of research and productivity and clinical revenue.” That big compensation differential might be explained by child care issues, inadequate mentoring by powerful authorities and lack of peer recognition.

I believe that in general men and women negotiate differently. Whereas women are happy and excited about the new job prospects, which make them overlook important caveats of their contracts, we have a useful narcissistic strain that inflates our self-worth, which toughens negotiations. An acceptance letter is the first step in a long and winding road.

What do you want me say? Women might sometimes be too good for their own good…

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

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