I’m terribly behind in updating, and this hardly counts as a legitimate post, but this article about the discrepancy in doctor salaries based on gender was a depressing enough way to start out my Wednesday that I thought I would share.

It’s a good article; the study and the author don’t just accept the numbers and leave us readers to try and sort through the reasons. No, it isn’t just the differences in specialties. No, it’s not just because all these women doctors are off having babies. They even ruled out different income structures or salary negotiating techniques which are causes that didn’t occur to me right away.

As an idle thought, I wonder if the custom of never asking or talking about income might not be hurting our country’s efforts to equality. Are most of these women, who I imagine are by and large intelligent, driven individuals to have made it through medical school and residency, aware that their male counterparts are making more money? It’s one thing to look at statistics in an article, and quite another to know you’re being held to a different standard by an employer.

This is all the more disturbing in light of my last post on women in medicine, in which Canadian schools were having to select moderately qualified male students over extremely qualified female students in order to keep the gender balance from tipping too far off center. Are we paying less qualified doctors more simply because they are male?

By the time you’re making 200K a year, it’s hardly good manners to complain about your income. Still, income equality is important not because of a number in a bank account, but rather because it represents a mindset about what we believe women are worth; right now that seems to be less than men.