Wednesday marks National Equal Pay Day, which brings awareness to pay discrepancies between men and women who do the same work.
And while UB administrators say they “wouldn’t assume a similar pay gap across all sectors,” they say the university is ahead of the curve when it comes to guaranteeing equal pay for tenured and tenure-eligible professors.
Officials cite a 2016-17 study conducted by UB’s Office of Institutional Analysis which found “the average unexplained earnings gap between men and women” ladder faculty members at UB “…is statistically insignificant,” ranging “from 0.1% and 1.3%.”
This analysis, which was issued by the school’s Gender Equity Salary Study (GESS) committee in 2017, evaluated the pay of 1,042 full-time, tenured and tenure-eligible faculty. It was jointly overseen by Charles Zukoski, UB’s former provost and executive vice president, and Phil Glick, a professor of surgery in the Jacobs School of Medicine.
The gender pay gap refers to the average difference in remunerations for men and women. Since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the gap has been closing slowly at a rate of 0.5% per year. But, according to a projection from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women will not be paid equally to men until 2059.
In 2021, women make 82 cents for every dollar men make, according to Equal Pay Today. This discrepancy grows larger — and more profound — when factoring in race — Black women make 62 cents on the dollar, while Latina women make 55 cents. This accounts for an annual median loss of $24,110 for Black women, $29,098 for Latina women and $24,656 for Native American Women, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
The university employs 2,509 total faculty members and 6,037 full-time equivalent employees, according to its website. The investigators considered faculty members’ current academic rank, time in current position, status at hire, departmental affiliation and discipline market factors in their study.
But the university did not include adjunct professors and other employees and staff members in the study. In a statement, UB spokesperson John DellaContrada said he “wouldn’t assume a similar pay gap across all sectors” and that more research needs to be done.
GESS committee co-chair Sharon Nolan-Weiss said this study is “one of many methods” the university uses to ensure salary equity. In a press release, she said that faculty who feel their salaries are unequitable can request a salary review through UB’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion offices, which she runs.
“Gender equality in salaries is a reasonable expectation of everyone at the University at Buffalo,” Glick said in 2017. “This study demonstrates our shared sense of purpose at all levels of the faculty and the administration, and why shared governance principles work.”
Dan Eastman is the assistant managing editor and can be reached at email@example.com