“So, we sought to ask if there is a gender pay gap at UNC, and if so, why and what methodological tools can we use to look at control variables differently, and according to our study, across three years, men on UNC faculty earned 28 percent more than women, and that includes all units and departments,” Dickinson said.
Dickinson presented at the April 22 Faculty Executive Committee meeting with faculty representatives from Kenan-Flagler Business School and the UNC School of Medicine
“I think the report overall went really well,” Dickinson said. “I think it was a signal that UNC cares about this topic and that we all need to understand it better, and the more people we have in the room to study this topic in different ways, the more info we can have on figuring out how to fix it.”
As a committee charged with addressing barriers to the equality of women faculty, COSOW has proposed specific solutions to address the gender pay gap found in the study.
“Our overall recommendation was to ask for a chancellor’s task force in order to help faculty members, and that could investigate new benefits such as full-time, backup or summer childcare at UNC,” Dickinson said.
Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss said gender pay inequity is a concern of the UNC community as whole.
“I think everybody on the campus is interested in making sure that we’re an equitable faculty employer, and I mean, I’m thrilled that the Committee on the Status of Women is engaged in this issue and support their desire, which we share,” Strauss said.
Strauss said the work to address gender pay inequity would happen at an individual level, based on the evidence from gender pay studies.
“Now, we’re actually going to start the process of looking at what the steps are to deal with that,” Strauss said. “With multiple studies running around out there, we kind of had to wait and see what the true picture was...So, in looking at the faculty in the department of X, we noticed that professor Y is being paid more than 1.5 standard deviations off of the departmental mean for his or her rank, and we would like to have an explanation for why that is occurring.”
UNC’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment previously published reports on faculty salary equity commissioned by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost in 2002 and 2012. The office oversees academic values, policies and practices.
“The various different studies are useful, but the foundational issue is the same,” Strauss said. “When there are differences, they need to be identified, they need to be looked at and then they need to be remediated.”