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For Women Physicians Day, Doctors Want Equal Pay

Across the nation, female doctors make 26.5 percent less than male doctors.

In Nevada, female doctors make 36 percent less, an average of about $90,000 per year.

Studies show that female doctors have equal or better outcomes with their patients, but they do not enjoy the same status as their male counterparts.

Dr. Le Hua is a neurologist at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. She said while more women are entering the field of medicine female physicians often struggle to get even the most basic respect as a doctor.

“Females have to fight for just that basic recognition,” she said.

Hua said she has been called by her first name while a male colleague will be addressed as "doctor." 

Dr. Gabby Gregory, who is the chief of staff at Sunrise Hospital, said there is often a lack of respect from patients. 

“There isn’t that level of comfort of certainty,” she said.

Gregory said patients will question her orders or say things they wouldn't say to male doctors.

But the biggest issue for her is income inequality. She said part of the problem is that it's against the law for doctors to collectively bargain, which means they don't know until contracts are finished how much people are making.

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Hua said her clinic is working to address that problem and become more transparent about salaries. She said the clinic is also actively working to find out why so few women are in leadership roles and what needs to be done to change that.

She said efforts by her clinic and others is thanks in part to the women making their voices heard.

“I think it’s because women have started asking for more and started speaking up,” Hua said.

Gregory believes women also need to speak up when they want a leadership role. She said when she has looked to fill leadership positions women often don't put their names forward.

Both physicians agree that women bring a different perspective to medicine that should be embraced. 

Gregory said she has had patients open up to her about problems they won't talk to male physicians about. 

Hua, who works with multiple sclerosis patients, said she can relate to her patients on certain issues, like pregnancy and child care, more than her male colleagues can.

“I think its nice when they come in and they see me and they talk to me they can relate to me,“ she said.

Hua believes input from both female and male physicians makes everyone stronger and in the end helps patients. That is why she hopes people continue to highlight the disparity between men and women in the workplace.

“We’re not asking for more or something else because we’re women," she said. "We’re asking for the same basic level of respect."

Guests

Le Hua, neurologist, Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; Gabby Gregory, chief of staff, Sunrise Hospital

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