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  • Washington Post: Female PTs Will Spend Last 4 Weeks of 2017 Working 'For Free'

    Guess what the majority of physical therapists (PTs) will be doing beginning December 2? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, that's when female PTs start working for free for the rest of the year while their male counterparts continue to get paid. And that disparity is actually a bit smaller than the one faced by most women in the workforce.

    The Post article, published on October 26, examines the issue of gender pay gaps by way of establishing "work-for-free" dates in multiple professions—the date after which average wage disparities equate to the lower earning group (almost always women) working without pay for the remainder of the year. On a national level, according to the article, women's salaries are approximately 80% of what men receive, a gap that translates into 10 weeks of work without pay for women. Put into calendar form, that means that when averaged across professions, women began working for free on October 14.

    The physical therapy profession fares better than the national average, with an estimated work-for-free date of December 2 for women. That correlates with an average hourly pay difference of $37.23 an hour for male PTs versus $34.33 per hour for female PTs, according to the article. Data for the report were derived from a study by IPUMS, a census and survey research organization that specializes in microdata.

    The December 2 disparity date for physical therapists is the same as for elementary and middle school teachers. That date is better than the work-for-free date for physicians and surgeons (September 8) and dentists (October 19) but slightly worse than for registered nurses (December 6) and social workers (December 19).

    The article includes graphics, potential causes, and an exploration of various theories that attempt to explain the gap. Those theories include the idea that women tend to choose lower paying jobs ("sort of," the article states), that they choose to work part-time (that's not always by choice, according to the Post), and that younger, more educated women don't experience a wage gap (they do).

    "What this all hints to is that the causes of the gender gap are many and more nuanced than just individual choices or corporate discrimination," writes author Xaquin G.V. "However you slice the data, the gap is there."


    • I think that title is very misleading to the point that what is written does not even support it. Also if you are to look at most hospital HR job ranges assignment is based on need, experience, market, has nothing to do with if you are a woman or a man.

      Posted by sue wilson on 11/8/2017 4:03 PM

    • Alright, I debated touching topic the first time I saw it in another PT facebook group. However, I did some digging into the data and ran some numbers. First off, this is not to say that I'm not in support of equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, or whatever discrimination there may be. Also, I believe that there are gender wage gaps, I'm just looking at this data objectively. First off, this article refers to The Washington Post, which also refers to data from 2009 and 2013. The most recent studies they reference are from 2016 however, those were glassdoor and Australia's Diversity Council that looked at all jobs as a whole, not primarily PT. Sources are a bit dated and bias. Secondly, there has been a similar APTA article published in 2015 (http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2015/3/17/PTEarningsWomen/). After running the numbers, this article (2015) states that women make 61% of the PT workforce, men made up 39%. Men annual earnings in 2013: $80,411 Women annual earnings in 2013: $70,509 As a percentage, women make 87.7% of men's earnings. As a percentage of the PT economy, women as a whole take home 61% of total PT earnings, Men take home 39% of that pie back in 2013. This article (2017) states that "women's salaries are approx 80% of what men receive" which is not true if you calculate the numbers (it's 92.2%). It does not state a specific study they got their numbers from other than it was a study by IPUMS, and did not directly link the paper. However, according to the article's numbers: Men (assuming 2017): $37.23/hr = $77,438 annually Women (assuming 2017): $34.33/hr = 71,406 annually As a percentage, women make 92.2% of men's earnings Therefore, Men have decreased in pay from 2013 to 2016 and women have increased in pay. In addition, women have made an increase of 4.5% of mean's earnings. It doesn't mean there isn't still a gap, but also, it doesn't state what specialties they're looking at or where the data is from. I'm just very wary of articles that don't have sources that can be linked to hard data, I'd like to see who IPUMS is polling.

      Posted by Dat Mao -> CMT\BH on 11/8/2017 9:23 PM


      Posted by SHERRY THOM on 11/8/2017 9:24 PM

    • My husband and I are both physical therapists. We have been PTs for the past 23 years graduating from PT school in 1994. He makes $5.00 an hour than I do working for the same company. The disparity is that I took off more than 5 years to be with our children when they were born and he continued to work FT. I then worked at the prn rate in home care until our children were older. It was very important to both of us that our children were raised by US and not a babysitter or daycare. So, he has revived nearly 10 years of raises from the company we work for and I have not. Hence the pay difference. Doesn’t seem like anyone takes these kind of differences into account! If the roles had been reversed, I would be the one making $5 more an hour than him had he stayed home and I worked- it’s simple math & has NOTHING to do with gender!

      Posted by Robin on 11/10/2017 12:11 PM

    • Typical WAPO article ... full of half truths and distortions. I'm glad that Sue and Robin recognized the falsehood of this article.

      Posted by Brian Miller on 11/17/2017 10:19 PM

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