Female academics still lag behind male colleagues when it comes to pay, promotions and career prospects, the union representing lecturers in old universities will tell the Government's commission on women in the workplace.
The Association of University Teachers has compiled evidence highlighting this systematic gender gap. It argues that little progress has been made on ensuring equal pay for work of equal value. According to its submission to the Women and Work Commission, the pay gap of 15 per cent in men's favour for academics is wider than five years ago.
It also says that although the overall number of female academics is fast approaching parity with men, the proportion of women on particular grades decreases with the seniority of the grade. Female academic and related staff are more likely to work part time. "While this may be a preferred employment option for many women, the evidence in this submission indicates that working part time can be a barrier to progress," it says.
In the research assessment exercise, men are more than one and a half times more likely than female colleagues to be counted as research active. "This is a major barrier to career progression," the submission says. It argues that employers must improve conditions for part-time and fixed-term employees. The AUT also favours regular statutory equal pay reviews and financial penalities for universities that fail to comply.
But it is new research on the discretionary pay gap that provides the starkest figures yet (see table). At some institutions, men are five times as likely as women to receive discretionary pay. For senior lecturer grades, this is worth as much as an extra £4,000 a year. Women are more likely than men to receive extra payments in only one university. Overall, in the UK in 2002-03, 14.9 per cent of female academics on grades with discretionary pay points received them compared with 23 per cent of males.
Stephen Court, the AUT's senior researcher, said: "This research provides clear evidence that female academics are being discriminated against.
Although factors such as career breaks and the type of work undertaken by women may contribute to gender pay gaps, a significant part of the gap in the economy as a whole can be attributed to discrimination."
LAUDABLE GOALS, VARIABLE SUCCESS
Bradford University - best at rewarding women with discretionary pay - said:
"Bradford strives to reward all its staff, regardless of gender, in a fair and equitable manner through reward mechanisms that are underpinned by our commitment to equal opportunities."
The University of Wales, Aberystywyth - worst at rewarding women with discretionary pay - said:
"The university has an equal opportunities and diversity policy. The numbers of staff who have discretionary points is very low so the scope for a statistical analysis from which generalisations can be drawn is limited."
The London School of Economics - most generous with discretionary pay - said: DISPARITIES IN DISCRETIONARY PAY
" We award discretionary points to those who we believe deserve to be rewarded. These are often high-calibre people who are perhaps not quite at promotion point but may be at some stage in the future. Our most recent figures show a narrowing gap between men and women on discretionary points. Of our professorial staff, 19 per cent are women, compared with 8 per cent in 1996."
DISPARITIES IN DISCRETIONARY PAY
% of academics on discretionary pay*
Men more likely than women to be on discretionary pay**
*Excludes academics on grades that have no discretionary points. ** 1.0 means equal likelihood
Register to continue
Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.
Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:
- Sign up for the editor's highlights
- Receive World University Rankings news first
- Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
- Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Or subscribe for unlimited access to:
- Unlimited access to news, views, insights & reviews
- Digital editions
- Digital access to THE’s university and college rankings analysis
Already registered or a current subscriber? Sign in now