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Feature continued

Dr. Sherry Blumenthal, chair of the Pa. Medical Society's Women Physicians Caucus, was
the speaker at the PCMS seminar. She admitted that there are family compromises, but added
that quite often pay discrepancies in medicine have little or nothing to do with parenting.
A female doctor at the seminar agreed. She said a female colleague of hers found that she
and another female colleague in their 50s were making far less than their male colleagues.
The doctor said, "The woman went to the head of the department and demanded
that she and her female colleague be paid as much as the men. The department head said,
'I don't have jurisdiction over this.' She then went to the man who did, and demanded
that she get an immediate raise. That man said, 'I'm not sure I can really do that.' And
she responded, 'You have two choices. You can raise my salary now, or you can talk to my
lawyer.' She got the raise."
Another woman in the crowd said, "But what about all the years those women were

Dr. Sherry Blumenthal

Another female doctor said when she found out a male colleague was making much
more than her, even though they had similar experience and workloads, she demanded
from her female administrator a raise. Her boss refused, then criticized her for finding out
how much her colleague was making, because their contracts stipulated that they were not
to discuss their salaries with colleagues. The doctor decided to look for another job, and
quickly found one. When she told her boss she was leaving, the boss blurted out, "Oh my
God, no, no, no! Wait, wait, wait!" She got her raise.
Blumenthal said that on average male doctors in Pa. make about 35 percent more than
female doctors. She said the wage gap in the state is greater among physicians than other
professions. She said one of the reasons men make more is because they routinely ask for
raises, while women do not. Women, she said, have to get into the habit of asking for a raise.
Blumenthal predicted that salaries would even out when about half of the administrative positions are filled by women. But getting there requires scaling a steep hill. About 80
percent of OB/GYNs in Philadelphia are women, for example, but there's only one female
head of obstetrics and gynecology in the city - Dr. Deborah Driscoll of the Hospital of
the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Blumenthal said women need to develop a network of support. "Men play golf
together. We need to stick together and help each other, or we will never have our share
of the power." *

36 Philadelphia Medicine : Spring 2018


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