Recent female veterinary graduates can expect to make $2,400 less a year than their male counterparts—at least that’s what the statistics show.
The number recently came to light when the American Veterinary Medical Association put it in its starting salary calculator. The AVMA was trying to illustrate the unfairness of such pay disparity, but instead caused an uproar among its members.
AVMA leadership heard complaints from members, who voiced confusion about how the information was presented and how it would be interpreted. Rather than making a cogent argument against pay disparity, the number was listed as a simple step in the calculation for starting pay for veterinarians. Some members said they felt it was strange to include the number so plainly, without explanation.
Here’s the top half of the calculator, provided to Quartz by a member of the group.
“We’re trying to call that out so it’s not just a general statistic, knowledge is power,” said AVMA spokeswoman Sharon Curtis Granskog. “We want it to be a discussion point.” She said the group plans to add an additional box to explain the number—which it gleaned from veterinary surveys and US Bureau of Labor data. The AVMA also plans to state its position on gender pay disparity.
“We don’t want anyone to think that we would ever want women to accept less money than men,” Granskog said. “Maybe this will be the starting point of when something changes, maybe we’ll see the needle move.”
It’s not just female vets, of course, who earn less than their male counterparts. Such pay disparities have come to light lately in the tech industry and in journalism. Some have speculated that the US won’t achieve gender equality in pay until at 2058.