Statement on Gender Salary Equity

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Women in Surgery Committee, in partnership with the Association of Women Surgeons, developed the following Statement on Gender Salary Equity, which the ACS Board of Regents approved at its June 2017 meeting in Chicago, IL.

Despite improvements in explicit gender discrimination, substantial pay differentials exist between male and female surgeons even after adjusting for factors such as age, years of experience, specialty, work hours, and productivity.1-4 The American College of Surgeons supports pay equity among surgeons, regardless of gender.

The following guidelines provide a framework for a pay equity policy.5

  • Employers should promote transparency in defining the criteria for initial and subsequent physician salaries. To ensure equitable compensation, performance reviews and benchmark salaries of all surgeons should be reviewed routinely in both academic and clinical practice settings. Policies, procedures, leadership practices, and organizational culture should be assessed to ensure compliance with pay equity requirements. In addition, any identified pay disparity should be remedied.
  • Implicit bias and compensation determination training should be provided for all individuals in a position to determine salary. These programs should specifically focus on how subtle differences in the evaluation of male and female surgeons may impede compensation and career advancement. Compensation training should provide a thorough understanding of compensation policies, how rates of pay are determined, and how to communicate compensation.
  • Nondepartmental oversight of compensation models, metrics, and actual total compensation for all employed physicians should be encouraged. Information about compensation, including summary data by rank, years of employment, and gender should be made available to all surgeons within the department. Educational programs also should be established to help promote an understanding of self-worth and self-confidence. Both genders should be empowered to negotiate an equitable salary. These educational efforts should be extended to residents and medical students so that essential negotiation skills are fostered early in training.


  1. Jagsi R, Griffith KA, Stewart A, Sambuco D, DeCastro R, Ubel PA. Gender differences in salary in a recent cohort of early-career physician researchers. Acad Med. 2013;88(11):1689-1699.
  2. Jena AB, Olenski AR, Blumenthal DM. Sex differences in physician salary in U.S. public medical schools. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1294-1304.
  3. Freund KM, Raj A, Kaplan SE, et al. Inequities in academic compensation by gender: A follow-up to the national faculty survey cohort study. Acad Med. 2016;91(8):1068-1073.
  4. Carnes M, Bartels CM, Kaatz A, Kolehmainen C. Why is John more likely to become department chair than Jennifer? Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2015;126:197-214.
  5. Association of Women Surgeons. Association of Women Surgeons Statement on Gender Salary Equity. Available at: Accessed March 2, 2017.

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