Gender gap in USF’s wages inexcusable

Wage-related sexism is apparently still prevalent at USF. A recently released study conducted by the American Association of University Professors and detailed in The Oracle on Tuesday found quite substantial salary gaps based on gender.

That a situation like this still exists is saddening, but that such a practice is still apparently in use at an institution of higher learning is downright unacceptable.

According to the report, a male tenured professor makes, on average, $11,100 more than a female tenured professor at USF. The same goes for male associate professors ($7,300 more), assistant professors ($4,800 more) and instructors ($4,100 more).

On the whole, the report concluded females earn about 80 percent of what their male counterparts do.

The study did not detail why universities such as USF deem it acceptable to pay females less, but in the end it does not matter how it is justified. It is wrong to pay one person more simply because they are of a certain gender.

The conclusions laid out in the report are even more surprising given that many decision-makers at USF are female. President Judy Genshaft relies heavily on Provost Renu Khator to set the tone for the university. Genshaft’s predecessor was Betty Castor. Even on the university’s Board of Trustees, females are well represented, at least going by the numbers of females sitting on the board.

Such high-ranking females generally receive much-publicized wages. President Genshaft, for example, recently received a hefty pay raise of $16,320, along with a one-time $35,000 “performance-based bonus.”

But it may simply have been an indication that, while gender differences seem to be taken care of on the surface, the problem may go much deeper.

The AAUP study is insightful, as it brings matters to the attention of the public that may be matter of public record, but are usually not often discussed. It easily demonstrates that in terms of sexism, be it conscious or unconscious, our society still has some way to go.

In this instance, though, it is a matter that is easily rectified. While it is hard and may take years to overcome prejudice, giving females their fair share is a simple matter of bookkeeping. Hopefully USF will address the matter sooner rather than later.