The causes of the $1,800 MU wage gap are many and complicated

Via the Tribune:

University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild formed the Task Force on Gender Equity in 1999 to investigate gender equality among Marquette faculty after concerns were brought to his attention by female faculty.  Twelve women and six men of various academic interests comprised the task force. The group was disbanded in 2000 and released its findings in a publicized report in 2001. Task force members were able to obtain detailed salary information from the Office of the Provost for their investigation, but only on the condition that specific salaries not be shown in the final report, said Cheryl Maranto, chair of the management department in the College of Business Administration and a task force member.This goes hand in hand with a private institution’s standard that Marquette define salary as a private and personal matter, according to Provost John Pauly. Due to university privacy policies, the Office of the Provost refused to release detailed salary data to the Tribune. Nancy Snow, a professor of philosophy and member of the task force, said it was difficult to assess any quantitative improvement of this gap because of the Provost office’s refusal to disclose salary information. Without revealing these values, Maranto said the report presented other salary variables such as seniority, number of published works or awarded research grants, and committee duties.

With these variables taken into account, the report said that in 2001 males had an average starting salary that was $1,800 more than females.

At the time of hiring, Pauly said starting salaries are determined by the demand for the particular academic interests and qualifications of a candidate. Annual raises are then added to the base salary. If administrators see fit, extra money in department budgets could be used to “reward others” for commendable contributions to the college.Administrators in the Office of the Provost, the dean of the college and the chair of the department determine professors’ salaries. Pauly recalled three occasions during his time as dean of the College of Communication (2006-’08) when extra money from the department budget was used to equate the salaries between a male and female professor. Pauly said this was a rare occurrence overall, however.

Pauly has asked deans to take a closer look at salaries to ensure gender equity. In addition, the same privacy standard the gender equity task force encountered exists today. Pauly said Marquette employees expect salary information to remain confidential. It is difficult to pinpoint a single reason for the salary gap, said Audrey June, a staff reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, which published the AAUP salary report.

June said researchers have found women sometimes work fewer hours than men due to maternal family responsibilities. These factors could also result in less research time and published work from female professors.

“Anecdotally, I’ve heard that sometimes women simply don’t ask for more money when they’re negotiating their salary packages.” June said. “And sometimes the gap can be attributed to plain old bias.”

Snow added that a bias could exist because men feel threatened by women in the workplace and don’t want to be seen as inferior. John Cotton, a professor of management in the College of Business Administration who specializes in issues in the workplace, said men and women have tended to go down certain career paths, with men leaning toward higher paying careers.

“Instead of bringing up the pay issue, it’s bringing up: Why are they choosing different careers?” Cotton said.

Taking a look at data from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, it’s clear female professors do seem to migrate toward certain departments. In 2009, OIRA reported female professors represented 16 percent of the College of Engineering and 27 percent of the College of Business Administration faculty. On the other hand, females represented 71 percent of the College of Education faculty. Even within the College of Arts & Sciences, female faculty members were sparse in departments such as physics and political science, while they dominated social & cultural sciences and foreign languages & literatures.

To look at a university-wide average salary and claim gender bias wouldn’t be taking these academic specialties into account. Traditionally, college professors with certain academic interests, like engineering and business, are paid more than those in other disciplines, like English. It would be necessary to examine specific salary data to quantify the magnitude of this difference at Marquette.

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