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UNC-CH's female professors are facing an uphill climb to reach the salary figures male faculty attain, according to the 2000-01 salary report by the UNC Office of Institutional Research.

N.C. State officials announced last week that the university -- which faces a similar disparity -- would commit $600,000 to eliminating gender-related salary disparities.

UNC-CH reports indicate that tenured and tenure-track female professors in the College of Arts and Sciences earn an average of $10,017 less than their male counterparts. The largest salary disparities reported were in the School of Medicine and in the science disciplines.

But officials said they were not surprised by the pay difference. "This is not news to anybody," said Sue Estroff, Faculty Council chairwoman.

Estroff said she hopes University officials will look at the inequities and make changes, although she said she is somewhat doubtful that pay discrepancies will be rectified this year.

Estroff said UNC-CH is unable to address salary discrepancies because of a lack of funds now available for faculty salaries.

While UNC-CH is just beginning to contemplate action, N.C. State already has taken action to study and remedy salary disparities among their faculty. Joanne Woodard, N.C. State's vice provost of equal opportunity and equity, said N.C. State hired consultant Lois Haignere of Albany, N.Y., to complete a study of faculty salaries for fall 2000. Woodard said N.C. State officials decided to address the disparities after receiving the results of Haignere's study.

This study showed that male minority professors and white female professors at N.C. State were making significantly less money than their white male counterparts with similar experience and rank.

One hundred and thirty-four of N.C. State's 161 minority male professors and 237 of the school's 371 female professors are slated to receive salary increases as a result of the study. The increases -- paid for by a tuition increase that is already in effect -- will be implemented in November. The salary increases will be retroactive from July 1, 2001.

UNC-CH Provost Robert Shelton said he has been in contact with N.C. State officials. He said the University is studying the issue and researching its past efforts before taking action. Shelton said there are several factors contributing to the disparities. He said female faculty members are often older when they receive their degree and that they take more time off to tend to family matters. Shelton also said that in some fields faculty leaders tend to be male and that by habit leadership is passed on to other men.

But Shelton said the issue should be studied to ensure that certain faculty members are not being discriminated against. "We need to make sure we are rewarding people appropriately for their contributions towards the mission of the University."

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