In academic settings, women radiologists have attained equal pay, prestige

There is no salary gap between male and female radiologists working at academic medical institutions in the U.S., according to an analysis by Harvard Medical School researchers published online Sept. 5 in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Drawing salary data from 24 public medical schools spanning 12 geographically diverse states, the researchers found the parity held even after matching individual rads’ salaries with their salary-impacting factors as reported in Doximity’s comprehensive radiologist database.

Neena Kapoor, MD, Ramin Khorasani, MD, MPH, and colleagues looked at all radiology faculty at the 24 schools, which as state-run institutions are required to publish compensation information.

There were 573 radiologists in the cohort, representing 11.3 percent of the 5,089 radiologists who had academic appointments in the U.S. as of late 2015.

Of these, 171 (29.8 percent) were women and 402 (70.2 percent) were men.

This ratio was consistent with recent workforce surveys showing radiology to be lagging behind other specialties in recruiting women.

As for earnings, Kapoor and colleagues found that mean and median salaries between men and women were similar in unadjusted analyses ($290,660 vs. $289,797; absolute difference, $863; 95 percent confidence interval, -$18,363 to $20,090)—and remained so after adjusting for age, faculty rank, years since residency, clinical trial involvement, publications, total Medicare payments, NIH funding and graduation from a highly ranked medical school.

There was an interesting blip. All radiologists in the cohort earning more than $500,000 a year were men, and this outlier finding did not owe to the women being younger than the men (48.5 vs. 51.6 years).

The researchers further found that, although the women were more likely than the men to be assistant professors (50.9 percent vs. 40.8 percent), the sexes had similar numbers of lead- and senior-author publications, NIH grants, clinical trials and mean Medicare payments.

“Our analysis adds further credence to this growing body of evidence that radiology is one of the few medical specialties that has made important advances in sex equality as it relates to promotion and payment,” Kapoor et al. write in their discussion. “Cultural norms and long-standing efforts within radiology to address sex disparities may have been successful. The specific features of these policies are important to elucidate, could provide insight for other specialties, and may warrant further qualitative analysis on what sets radiology apart in terms of sex equality.”

"[Radiology] has achieved a degree of sex equality that is uncommon in medicine,” the authors conclude. “These results, in combination with other recent work on sex equality in radiology, could be used to encourage more women to enter this field.”