Even in the female-dominated field of nursing, men are still the higher earners. A new study published in JAMA used two surveys of RNs and found the unadjusted pay gap ranged from $10,243 to $11,306 in one, and from $9,163 to $9,961 in the second, even after controlling for factors such as education and specialty, Reuters reports. The only specialty where women earned larger paychecks was orthopedics, and the largest gap ($17,290) was found among nurse anesthetists.
Nursing experts trot out some worn theories for the disparity, including men being better advocates for raises and less likely to take long hiatuses for family obligations. A Hunter College nursing prof wonders if men may be offered higher pay "to diversify" the field, reports the New York Times. Still, that instructor also theorizes there may be a "lingering bias that a man is more of an expert because he's a man." The dean of the Johns Hopkins' nursing school says we should dive deeper: "In Wall Street or Silicon Valley, people can dismiss [the pay gap] because it's a culture that's not known to be accommodating [to women] … but when you see this inequity in nursing, it speaks to a larger problem."