Equal Pay for Equal Work in the Dean Suite: Addressing Occupational Gender Segregation and Compensation Inequities Among Medical School Leadership

Author Department

Medicine; Ob/Gyn

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



In 2022, the Association of American Medical Colleges published data from its annual Dean's Office Staff Compensation and Dean's Compensation Surveys in a new report addressing salary equity among medical school leadership. These data, disaggregated by gender and race/ethnicity, represent earnings of the senior most leaders in the dean suite and have historically been shared only with medical school Deans and principal business officers. The report shows that the highest ranking decanal positions in U.S. medical schools are filled along the lines of traditional gender stereotypes (with men in clinical affairs and research affairs deanships and women in admissions, diversity affairs, faculty affairs, and student affairs deanships) and that the roles held mostly by men carry grander titles (e.g., senior associate dean versus assistant dean) and significantly higher salaries than those typically held by women. Additionally, within the same decanal positions, women earn lower median compensation than men. In this commentary, the authors describe limited advancement and lower compensation as foregone conclusions for women in medicine and science due to a professional model that places a premium on activities traditionally pursued by men. They define and characterize the impact of this occupational gender segregation in the dean suite and offer a roadmap for an alternative value system that recognizes complementary leadership activities across the mission areas of academic medicine and ensures that the contributions of women in the profession are appropriately recognized, valued, and rewarded.