Salary inequality favors female professors in science college

By Kelly Canright

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A 1991 study done by the associate dean of the faculty of science revealed that female professors in the College of Science have higher average salaries than their male counterparts.

"Thirteen departments within the college of science were studied in the fall of 1991 on 1991 data," said John Wilson, director of the office of institutional research. The study was conducted to assess salary equity between male and female faculty.

Wilson's study revealed that at the level of full professor, women make $61,627 compared to men at $61,284.

At the time the study was conducted, there were five female full professors in the survey and 152 male full professors. In 1991, nine full professors in the college of science were women.

Two women were excluded from the study because they were department heads, and a woman with a medical doctorate degree was excluded because her salary would have biased the salary averages upward by a substantial amount.

Overall, in the entire science faculty, the study showed that the 267 men made an average of $53,610 compared to the 33 women whose average salary was $44,966.

This overall figure is attributed to the average age of women in the college 41.3 years compared to men, who are on the average 7.8 years older. Men have also contributed approximately 9.4 years more of service to the college than women.

"The study was conducted because at that time, the Commission on the Status of Women was issuing its first report, and salary equity was addressed," Wilson said.

"We maintained our own database taking into account certain demographic differences," Wilson added. "We then marry that data with a download of salary data so we would have an update."

As a result of looking at the tables and data, certain salaries were heightened, Wilson said. No salaries were lowered.

"Generally, women are paid more than men by department that are in the same category and the same rank unless there is a fairly big age discrepancy," Wilson said.

Yashaswini Mittal, head of the statistics department, helped finalize Wilson's study.

"The data that I saw would not make me believe that the salaries were not equitable," Mittal said.

"There was a limited amount of data. Also, there are not many women in the college of science, so there was a very small sample size," Mittal said. "To conclude something statistically, you must have a larger sample size."

"The Arizona Board of Regents recommended in its Vision 2000 that the three state universities establish a commission on the status of women and salary data on faculty," said Judy Mitchell, professor of language, reading and culture.

A university-wide study that will compare the salary equity of men, women and minorities will begin in the spring.

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