The Committee on the Status of Women met Thursday to discuss recommendations to address gender inequity at the University. One responsibility of the COSOW is to propose steps to address barriers to the equality of women faculty, according to the Faculty Code.
During the Faculty Council meeting on March 8, COSOW co-chairs Elizabeth Dickinson and Brent Wissick, both professors, presented a report on gender pay inequity at UNC.
The report was authored by Noah Eisenkraft, a professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, and investigated gender-based salary differences at UNC. The report was presented to the Faculty Council to create conversation about gender pay inequity.
“I have to say, I didn’t feel like people felt attacked by this report,” Wissick said. “I think eyes were opened. It wasn’t exactly being blindsided; it was like suddenly having some cataracts removed.”
The primary purpose of the COSOW meeting was to brainstorm recommendations for the Faculty Council to address the gender pay inequity shown in the report.
“I think today it would be helpful to, as I said in the email, flesh out some really solid, number one, recommendations for what to do about gender inequity at UNC,” Dickinson said. “And then number two, based on our viewing of the Faculty Council meeting, are there any other tests we want Noah to run which might address anything that came up.”
The committee aims to present these recommendations to the Faculty Council at their meeting on April 12.
Committee consultant Clare Counihan, program coordinator for faculty and staff at the Carolina Women’s Center, articulated COSOW’s recommendations as the 'three R's.'
“Thinking about it in an outline, the first R is research,” Counihan said. “... The second R is retention, and retention includes all of these policies around work-life balance and making sure people have equitable access. And then the third R is review, which is a little confusing. Review and fix the compensation policy and then annual review of chairs, the chair’s report card.”
In the discussion of recommendations, COSOW emphasized the need for departments to change compensation policies if necessary.
“Every department reviews compensation policies and if not already present, develops policies for transparent practices around compensation and then identify what those transparent practices are,” Counihan said.
UNC is not alone in facing gender pay inequality, but could be a leader in addressing the issue, said COSOW member Kenya McNeal-Trice. Taking these recommendations to address gender pay inequity would be an important step for not only UNC, but universities in general.
“I wanted to say one of the things that we could highlight at the end of this is that UNC is not unique in this,” McNeal-Trice said via conference call. “I mean, if you likely were to look at our peer institutions, that this is one reason by gender pay inequity is such a hot topic because universities all over are tackling this. But what the benefit that could be to UNC is that UNC could actually be a leader in mitigating this.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.