Speaker Examines Salary Differentials Between Genders

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Male UC Berkeley professors make an average of $12,000 more than their female counterparts, a university spokesperson said yesterday.

On average, women who have achieved the title of full professor at UC Berkeley make $98,600 a year, while male full professors make approximately $110,600, according to a report from the American Association of University Professors released last week.

Ellen Fwitkes, UC assistant vice president of academic advancement, said UC Berkeley pays its professors in accordance with a published salary scale - except in highly competitive disciplines, which tend to be dominated by men.

In the areas of business management, engineering and law, she said the university follows a higher pay scale in order to retain professors and stay competitive with other schools.

She also said the university will pay recruits higher than the designated scale in an effort to entice them to come to UC Berkeley.

"There are more men in the disciplines that happen to be highly paid," Fwitkes said. "If you looked at the average salary for a single discipline, there would be no disparity at all. But the highest-paid disciplines have the fewest women."

She added that UC Berkeley staffs as many or more women than other universities.

Ernst Benjamin, director of research for the American Association of University Professors, said the salary differential amounts to a "glass ceiling" for female professors.

He said an equal number of women and men are hired as associate professors but women are less likely to be promoted to the position of full professor.

Nearly 80 percent of full professors are men, he added.

"Women are coming into the profession in larger and larger numbers," he said. "They have simply not caught up."

At UC Berkeley, 102 women and 150 men are associate professors, Benjamin said.

The differences in male and female salaries come mostly because women dominate what many perceive as less rigorous subjects, he said.

"The disciplines with more men in them pay more, and women tend to be more heavily clustered in disciplines that don't pay as well," he said. "It's not direct discrimination, but women have (fewer) alternative occupations. They don't have the same range of choices."

The study also determined that UC Berkeley pays its full professors $108,700 a year, the highest rate of any public university in the country.

Well-regarded private schools, however, pay their professors nearly $20,000 more, he said. Full Stanford professors make $121,100 a year, Benjamin said.

"Berkeley's salary is quite high for a public school, but it's still way behind Stanford," Benjamin said. "On average, if Stanford wants to bid for a professor, they can make it more lucrative than Berkeley can."

UC Berkeley is in danger of loosing its top professors to the private universities against which it competes, he said. He added that when controlled for the cost of living, faculty salaries have decreased in the last 10 years.

"Faculty salaries are actually falling below the private sector," he said. "If a student graduates from Berkeley, if they go to Boalt and do well, they'll make $125,000 in the private sector. But get a job as a professor, that pays $40,000. Students are less likely to go into higher education and teaching."

Women's studies professor Evelyn Nakano Glenn said even when female professors are as qualified as their male colleagues, they often earn less money.

"All disciplines don't have the same salary," she said. "There are some actual differences when you control for comparable fields but it does not completely eliminate the (salary) differential. It's a continuing problem."

She added that those who do not want to admit that a salary gap exists will often use the excuse of high-paying, male-dominated disciplines to explain the difference in pay.

"People who don't believe in the problem will try and factor out how it's different," she said. "The university should take it seriously and try to address the situation, but they have been reluctant to do so."


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