Solidarity, sisters

December 13, 2012

The continuing gender pay gap affecting female academic staff in UK universities and the disparities at the senior level are causes for concern ("Cycle of domination of top roles by men must be broken", Opinion, 6 December). However, the discrimination suffered by critically supportive professional services staff must not be overlooked, either.

My research into this area shows that although around two-thirds of professional services staff at grades 7-9 are women, two-thirds of staff at grade 10 are men. Although it is nearly impossible to review the possible pay gap nationally (the Higher Education Statistics Agency does not collect professional services staff data by grade), one can hypothesise that there is such a gap in the staff group at the senior level, too.

If we are to tackle gender discrimination in our universities, academic and professional services should work together to build a much stronger argument for addressing embedded institutional-level issues.

Michelle Gander, Head of the university secretary's office, The Open University

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