Wage gap of more than $4,000 due to societal issues
Despite a recent Statistics Canada report, officials at St. Thomas University say gender isn’t a factor in the wage gap between male and female professors..
According to the report, male professors make as much as $20,000 more a year than their female counterparts. At STU the salary difference is only $4,429.
STU sociology professor Sylvia Hale said the wage gap is due to lifestyles choices not gender inequality.
“Female faculty take time out for pregnancy and for care of infants,” she explained in an email. “They may also spend more time generally in childcare. They also tend to do more of the routine care work in the home of cleaning, shopping, cooking etc.
“The result is that women tend to complete their Doctorates more slowly, and complete research and publications more slowly than male faculty – hence they get promoted more slowly.”
Vice-president finance and administration Lawrence Durling said STU’s universal salary system helps avoid gender discrimination.
With this system, every professor enters the salary grid based on their education and teaching experience. While this means STU’s wage gap is unintentional, Hale said societal expectations create one anyway – universal salary system or not.
“The sad gender-gap reality: unmarried, childless women typically earn as much or more than men,” she said. “Married women with children typically move up the ranks more slowly and so earn less.
“The salary rank at STU from lecturer floor to top of full professor is spread over 27 years. A slow start (longer period as lecturer finishing doctorate; longer period as assistant professor getting publications out; longer period before major research is completed to qualify for full professor) all means more years at lower salaries.”
Durling said the gap isn’t here to last though.
“We introduced an early retirement program [in 1996] so there’s more turn-over,” he said. “So it does mean…that the influx of new faculty…would be lower paid faculty.
“Since ‘96, we’ve probably had about two-thirds turn-over…[so] it certainly will diminish over time.”