A Male Doctor Said Female Doctors Don't Work As Hard. So They Set The Record Straight.

"You need some re-education for the sake of women you work with and treat."

A Texas doctor sparked public furor over the weekend after suggesting that the pay gap between men and women in medicine is to be expected because female physicians "don't work as hard." 

Plano internist Gary Tigges earned huge backlash on social media, following some highly controversial comments he made to The Dallas Medical Journal as part of a feature called "Women In Medicine Issue." The article, which centered around a report that female physicians only make about two-thirds of male physician's salary, asked several industry professionals to weigh in on the pay disparity. 

"Yes, there is a pay gap. Female physicians do not work as hard and do not see as many patients as male physicians. This is because they choose to, or they simply don't want to be rushed, or they don't want to work the long hours," Tigges said in response to the inquiry. 

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He went on to suggest that women prioritize their career differently than men. "Most of the time, their priority is something else .... family, social, whatever," he said, also adding, "Nothing needs to be 'done' about this unless female physicians actually want to work harder and put in the hours. If not, they should be paid less."

Photos of Tigges' statements in the journal spread like wildfire on Twitter, eliciting disgusted reactions from many, including several men and women in the medical industry. 

"This is how men convince themselves that discrimination against women is okay," fellow Texas doctor Mary Quiceno tweeted in response to the article. Jorge Montoya, a cardiologist in Mexico, also responded, saying, "This doctor is not only wrong, he's part of the problem."

Others, like Dr. Nikki Stamp, heart surgeon and author of Can You Die of a Broken Heart?, addressed Tigges directly. "Hi Gary. This comment is not accurate or helpful and says to me you need some re-education for the sake of women you work with and treat," Stamp wrote. 

Following the adverse public reaction, Tigges has since walked back his comments and apologized. On Saturday, he told The Dallas Morning News that he didn't know the statements would be published and that they were taken out of context. 

"My response sounds terrible and horrible and doesn't reflect what I was really trying to say. I'm not saying female physicians should be paid less, but they earn less because of other factors," he told the Dallas Morning News. "But it was not my intention to say female physicians are lazy or don't work as hard."

He also addressed some of the responses from his fellow physicians, saying, "I have heard from several trusted female physician colleagues who disagree with and are deeply hurt and offended by the comments. I sincerely apologize to all female physicians for my comments and the pain they have caused."

Research has shown that the pay gap between men and women in medicine not only exists, but seems to be widening in recent years. In March, CNN reported that a study of more than 65,000 doctors across 40 specialties found that female doctors earned 27.7 percent less on average than their male counterparts in 2017 — amounting to approximately $105,000 less a year.

While many in the medical industry were angered by Tigges' statements, some were also quick to point out that this kind of attitude toward the gender pay gap is one still held by many, both in the medical field and across industries.  

Gabriela Zandomeni, Dallas physician and chair of the committee that publishes The Dallas Medical Journal, told The Dallas Morning News that they chose to publish Tigges' comments because it's a common perspective that needs to be publicly addressed. "When I read this response, I was outraged, as many female physicians are today," she said. "However, I believe that to incite change, we must expose the issues that need changing."

Cover image via  sebra / Shutterstock.

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