Equal salaries?

By Chris Tait

Are men and women treated equally at the University of Calgary? A current study might help answer this question.

The Faculty Salary Equity Project is attempting to shed light on gender equality amongst faculty.

"It’s been in the works for awhile," explained Dr. Jean Wallace, a Social Sciences professor. "We’re still getting the data together."

As a professor gains experience and tenure, there is naturally a salary increase proportional to the quality of work provided, determined by university administration. This project is investigating whether or not the level of this increase is administered equally and fairly between male and female professors.

There have been many studies of this nature in the past, both at the U of C and elsewhere. The two features that make this particular study unique, at least to the U of C, is the breakdown of the information by faculty, and whether or not there are differences in rate of return for both sexes.

"The purpose is to determine whether or not there is a gender gap in pay," said Dr. Wallace. "If so, what are the factors responsible?"

Individual-based data is collected from human resources and processed by Dr. Wallace. The project will investigate any equality issues existing between the sexes in faculties at the U of C. The individual information is completely anonymous to avoid confidentiality issues while maintaining accuracy.

This presents another hurdle regarding the logistics of the project. The anonymity of a person is better concealed within the information of the hundreds of members of the Social Sciences faculty than in the relative few of the Faculty of Law.

When asked about the reception given to the researchers by the individual faculties, Dr. Wallace commented most were enthusiastic.

"Everyone has about five more variables [they]’d like to look at," she said. "We’re limited by what we get from [Human Resources]."

In response to these requests for additional variables, Dr. Wallace expressed a de- sire to, in the future, combine the study of the data provided by Human Res- ources with the university’s annual report to broaden the range of knowledge acquired in the process.

"We might find the cross-faculty difference may be more significant than gender," she explained.

Faculty Salary Equity Project is one of the gender equality projects currently headed by Dr. Hermina Joldersma, who is currently on research leave. The results are expected by Fall 2004.

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