He had already spoken with Lynn Williford, assistant provost for Institutional Research and Assessment, about undertaking a new analysis of the current status of the gender pay gap on campus.
Becker said Williford also showed interest in tackling the present challenges with the gender pay gap. Those present at the meeting said women tend to be in lower paying disciplines, but they believe the University can make an effort to undo those kinds of inequities.
The committee said it is important to keep the issue on people's minds, especially department leaders. Because chairpeople have the power to determine individual raises within their departments, any mandate for reducing gender salary inequity in the annual raise process would need to be communicated to them.
One of the committee's primary goals earlier in the year was to initiate a task force that would work to recognize, research, retain and repair the gender inequity in pay -- presented as the four "Rs." Among other recommendations to address the gap, COSOW calls the administration and faculty members to recognize that there is a gender pay gap among faculty at the University.
Among other goals, the task force hopes to develop a strategic plan to form and implement policies to improve conditions for women at the University. For the review and repair process, they recommend all departments undergo a detailed review of their compensation criteria and philosophy.
Those at the meeting said research should continue with collaboration from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. Continuing the conversation is key to furthering action towards closing the gender pay gap, meeting attendees said.
"Even if we get a task force, people have to recognize that there is a legitimate problem before we can do anything,” Sarah Birken, assistant professor in health policy and management, said.
Karen Booth, a professor in the department of women's and gender studies, said that linguistics, Asian studies and women’s and gender studies are consistently the lowest paid departments — and they happen to be the departments with the most female employees, as well.
“The calculations of individual salaries is one thing, but there’s another level,” Booth said. “In women's and gender studies we’re almost all women, so you can't compare a man's salary and a woman's salary, but we do know that departments that are primarily women are paid less.”
The committee's next steps will be to meet with other administrators to get an update on what strides have been made to resolve this issue.
“This is a great opportunity for UNC to be a real leader in erasing some of these institutional problems around salary inequity,” Becker said.