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Report Highlights Continued Pay Disparity in Higher Ed

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A study conducted by the EOS Foundation found that gender equality still has a long way to go when it comes to employment at institutions of higher education.

Conducted with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in Washington DC, the study found that women make up 60 percent of all employees but account for only 24 percent of all top earners at US universities.

The study gathered data from employees across 93 public and 37 private universities with researchers identifying the top 10 earners at each institution, where possible.

The report concluded its findings by suggesting the setting of equity benchmarks, publicizing the results of regular audits, and banning questions regarding salary history during the hiring process to help close the gender gap among top earners.

Data for Private Universities Unavailable

The data for private universities does not paint a clear picture for faculty members, because private universities do not have the same obligation as public universities to publish the salaries of their employees.

A co-author of the study, Andrea Silbert, stated to Nature Portfolio that the salaries of faculty members in private institutions should be made available to the public because these universities still receive substantial US federal funding.

“Transparency is foundational to solving the problem,” she said.

Data gaps were also prevalent according to ethnicity. The study determined that out of the top earners whose ethnicity could be determined, only four percent were African American. Within this percentage, less than one percent were African American women.

Renewed Push For Equal Pay

Across the United States, female faculty members have been working towards achieving equal pay. In October 2020, five tenured professors filed a lawsuit against Rutgers University for paying them less than their male counterparts.

The lawsuit was filed days after female professors at Princeton were awarded nearly $1.2 million in the wake of a federal inquiry into pay equity at the school. 

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court revived a lawsuit against the University of Oregon regarding the apparently wide disparity in salary between its male and female professors.

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