Help Recognize Wage PArity Day

PAs should support gender pay equity in our profession

By Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA
AAPA President and Board Chair

Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA
Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA

In a September 2017 JAAPA article, my co-authors Lauren Dobbs, PA-C, and Carol Hildebrandt, PA-C, and I highlighted the many accomplishments of female PAs during our profession’s 50-year history.  That month also saw the release of the 2017 AAPA Salary Report, which showed that even after controlling for factors such as hours worked, specialty, experience, and other career variables, female PAs are paid 93 cents for every $1.00 that male PAs are paid, on average.

TAKE ACTION

As a recent Washington Post article illustrated, this gender pay gap means that, in effect, female PAs start “working for free” in 2017 on December 4. To call attention to this issue, we’re asking all PAs to help us mark December 4 as “Wage PArity Day.”

As a PA educator, this is very personal to me.  I know the cost of a PA education.  And as I work with the talented and ambitious women who have chosen to become PAs, it pains me to know that the gender pay gap means it will take them longer to pay off their student loan debt, have a negative effect on their household income, and make it harder for them to save for retirement.

As AAPA president, I have an obligation to raise awareness about this issue and to work to find solutions that will strengthen the entire profession.  So I ask you: What resources would help you personally? What resources would help you address this problem more generally at your place of employment? And, if you are among the lucky ones who work in institutions where gender pay equity is being addressed or is no longer a problem, what advice can you – or they – give to others about what works?

Some of the top thought leaders on this issue, including the World Economic Forum and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, estimate that women will not reach overall wage parity until 2095. They believe it will take more than three generations to make this right. It is our challenge as PAs to harness the resources of our profession, so that we achieve wage parity in our profession much sooner.

I hope you’ll join me, as we mark Wage PArity Day on December 4, 2017. Together, we can raise awareness about this issue and demonstrate that all PAs support gender pay equity in the PA profession.  Visit WageParityDay.org to learn more.

Gail Curtis serves as president of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) and chair of the AAPA Board of Directors. Contact her at [email protected]

Further reading:
Navigating the Gender Wage Gap
Five Ways You can Address the PA Pay Gap