Salary inequity by gender still an issue at Western Michigan University; pay adjustments coming
Western Michigan University's gender pay gap reflective of larger issue (Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial)
KALAMAZOO, MI – Female professors at Western Michigan University earn 4 percent less on average than their male colleagues. By the end of summer, the pay of as many as 300 of the women will be going up.Four percent doesn't sound like much. The author of the article elaborates that
the study isolated that four percent as being based on gender -- there are definitely other factors influencing faculty pay and it is a complex subject.Controlling for other variables is good, but how do we know that they controlled for all the relevant variables?
There are a number of reasons female professors tend to earn less than their male counterparts, said John Curtis, director of research and public policy at the American Association of University Professors in Washington, which does an annual survey of faculty pay.Statistics that claim that women make 76% of what men make (or whatever) fail to take account of all these relevant variables.
Women are less likely to be in senior positions, such as dean or chair of a department, and are less likely to be full professors. Society still expects women to take on more of a family's caregiving duties, which means more women tend to be in non-tenure track positions, said Curtis.
There also are fewer women in disciplines such as math, computers and engineering, which pay the most, and more in the less-well-paying humanities departments.
And some of the pay disparity, he added, hinges on the fact that women historically were offered less money than men and tend to be uncomfortable negotiating for more.
A stipulation that professors must be shown to have merit to receive an adjustment has raised the most hackles, those interviewed said -- in essence making the women prove they are worthy of being treated fairly.I can understand why members of the Gender and Women's Studies would not want to discuss their merit.
"It's presuming that some people were discriminated against deservingly," said Susan Freeman, chair of the Gender and Women's Studies department.
There's lots more handwringing in the full article.