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April 5, 2019

Closing the Gender Wage Gap and Achieving Professional Equity in Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 2Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2019;321(17):1665-1666. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.4168

On July 1, 2018, an updated equal pay law went into effect in Massachusetts to address gender pay disparity. The updates to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) of 1945 provide more clarity as to what constitutes unlawful wage discrimination and adds protections to ensure greater equity. Among other provisions, the law defines comparable work, makes it illegal to ask about current salary during compensation negotiations, and makes it illegal to penalize or retaliate against employees for discussing their salaries. Why did MEPA need to be updated in 2018? Because 73 years after its enactment, gender pay inequity remains a major concern in society in general and in medicine.

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