Mind the (Pay) Gap: an Australian Surgeon’s Twitter Thread on Gender Inequality Goes Viral

Image credit: Twitter

Despite countless evidence to the contrary, people often dispute that the gender wage gap is real.

There are rules designed to hide it, such as not discussing salaries, but most women can cite an example of a time they were paid less for the same work.

Recently, Aussie surgeon Dr. Nikki Stamp went viral for a Twitter thread explaining the wage gap in medicine.

It turns out, it’s not just an American problem as you might have supposed, like I did.

When Bored Panda reached out to the heart and lung transplant surgeon, Dr. Stamp explained the biggest challenge in overcoming the issue:

“It is mainly men who don’t believe in the existence of the gender pay gap, or attribute it to simply to women who have children.”

And we’ve certainly all heard that argument before.

Dr. Stamp started by dedicating her thread to the male colleagues who have argued the subject with her.


She then defined what is actually meant by, “Gender pay gap.”

She immediately dispelled the notion that it can be easily solved with nothing more than blind pay scales.

And she laid down some facts about the gap in medicine, both in her native Australia and around the world.

Dr. Stamp’s focus was on surgery, since that is her specialty.

And she wanted to be sure that people understood it’s about both lower pay and reduced opportunities–both, together.

COVID, as we all know, has made it worse by increasing the burden on the caregivers.

Canada and Australia apparently use similar models where there’s a set fee for each service a doctor provides, but still, women make less.

And yet…

While everyone recognizes the need for a structured pay system, it doesn’t fix everything because there are systemic problems too.

And Dr. Stamps acknowledged that when accounting for race, women of color make even less.

There are a whole host of reasons for the pay gap. It’s a complicated issue:

And the tendency for people, men especially, to reduce the disparity to burden of choosing to have babies is both patronizing and untrue.

Dr. Stamps suggested a few ways to fix the issue.

And she reiterated the reason she posted the thread–because people still don’t believe the gap is real.

Dr. Stamps pointed out that medicine is a particularly biased industry.

Unfortunately a lot of the rude and disbelieving comments on her thread serve to illustrate her point perfectly.

And soon, other doctors were chiming in.

A Canadian doctor shared her own research on the subject.

And another user shared an article from the Harvard Business Review that explains how men tend to receive more actionable feedback during their reviews than women do.

Eddy Ng, the James and Elizabeth Freeman Professor of Management at Bucknell University, expessed similar concerns to Bored Panda.

“[Women] don’t fit the prototype of what leaders look like. They often lacked the preparation, not in terms of qualifications, but the socialization necessary to ascend to elite levels. Some of these are political skills, some are sponsorships, and some are social capital acquired at the golf courses and locker rooms, and few women partake in these socialization activities.”

When asked how the pay gap can finally be closed, Dr. Stamp pointed out that it’s going to take a lot of work to combat deep, systemic issues:

“This could be a chicken and egg situation—it’s thought that reducing the gender pay gap increases women’s workforce participation and reduces the amount of housework they do, increasing the amount their spouses do. But of course, women have also been shown to do more chores at home than their husbands even when they earn more money. However, these are big cultural changes requiring us to upend long-standing social structures. Recognizing that we experience the world differently depending on our gender would be a good start.”

Governments and organizing bodies may legislate what they can, but if anything is really going to change, it’s going to be up to individuals to shift it.

What do you think about Dr. Stamp’s ideas? Tell us in the comments.