Women faculty pay still lagged last year

Doctoral universities employ half as many tenured women as men, and these female faculty earn about 20 percent less, on average, than their male counterparts, according to the American Association of University Professors’ annual report on faculty pay.

Titled “Inequities Persist for Women and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty,” the report also found that full-time faculty who are not in a position to receive tenure earn 26 percent less, and part-time instructors earn 64 percent below the salaries of full-time faculty. Inequalities are also apparent between the salaries of faculty and the top executives that run universities, as some presidents make nearly seven times the amount of senior professors, the AAUP reported.

“Not only is there a disparity between executive and faculty salaries, but it is getting wider,” said UCSD Academic Senate Chair Donald Tuzin, who did not contribute to the compilation of the report.

AAUP has frequently noted the gender inequities in past reports. However, the non-tenure-track faculty inequities represent a new finding this year. The report also showed that, although the rate of inflation this year was 3.3 percent, the average salary increased by only 2.8 percent, making this the first time in eight years that inflation-adjusted salaries have decreased.

The organization itself made few specific recommendations to remedy the issues raised in its data. Its findings were instead meant as a starting point to encourage further dialogue, according to the report’s author, AAUP Director of Research John Curtis.

“We’re more interested in just stimulating and revitalizing the discussion and bringing some new data to the table,” he said.

The statistics on gender inequities have revealed differences between men and women’s salaries in several areas of higher education. For example, since at least the 1970s, only about 47 percent of full-time women professors have had tenure — a type of employment that makes a teaching position permanent, without the need for regular contract renewals — compared to 70 percent of men.

Curtis said he believes many universities have failed to adequately combat the pay issues, though his organization has consistently revealed them every year.

“My sense was that there were a lot of institutions that just added a few women to their faculty and thought that solved the problem, but I really don’t think it did,” he said.

The University of California has also shown a concern over salary inequities in recent years. In 2002, UCSD issued a Gender Equity Task Force Report that examined disparities between salaries, rates of employment and promotions of men and women. The report found that women represented only 18 percent of the permanent or ladder-rank faculty, particularly in the sciences, where a higher percentage of female candidates were available than were hired.

However, these disparities may be accounted for by the fact that higher education institutions, like the university, usually only hire scholars with postdoctoral experience, UC Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs M.R.C. Greenwood stated in a December 2004 opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. That applicant pool is closer in proportion to the number of women hired, she stated.

The 2002 report also blamed UC childbearing and childcare policies, calling them inadequate. However, it found that there was little gender bias when it came to promotions and that overall, the campus had relatively few problems with gender imbalance.

The UC system has made an effort to address many of these issues, the university announced in a 2003 statement. The document stated that the rate of hiring in top faculty positions for women jumped from 25 percent of new professors in 2000 to 36 percent in 2003, and that the numbers continue to increase. As a result, women currently compose 36 percent of new faculty appointments, up from 12 percent in 1998.

Such data appear to prove that the university is making headway in fixing some of the problems discovered in the 2002 gender-equity report, according to Tuzin.

“This campus, I think, has recently and vigorously moved to identify and remove gender inequities,” Tuzin said. “I believe UCSD and UC generally are usually ahead of the wave, and we are particularly pleased with the outcome of the gender-equity report.”