Following the release of a report showing a systemic gender wage gap at the University of Waterloo, the university moved quickly to give academic women a nearly $3,000 salary increase. The report, produced by a joint working group between the university admin and the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW), was released publicly on Thursday, August 4, 2016.
Using regression modelling, the working group found that women faculty members at Waterloo faced “a systemic gender anomaly” that was consistent across the university. The anomaly represented a salary gap of $2,905.
The Waterloo report follows similar projects at McMaster University, Western University, Queen’s University, and the University of Windsor that also found significant gender salary discrepancies and implemented pay corrections. Several other Ontario universities are in the midst of their own gender salary studies. All of these cases demonstrate the importance of ongoing salary reviews to identify and correct gender wage gaps where they exist. While one-time increases can close existing gaps, gender discrepancies can re-emerge if salary anomalies are not monitored over time.
In the longer term, it is also important to address the root causes of gender wage gaps in academia. This includes ensuring parity in starting salaries between men and women, as variations at the beginning of an academic career can compound quickly over time. Restructuring maternity leaves and benefits to promote equal career progression and fair remuneration is also necessary, as well as measures to build greater equity into merit pay in the years following parental leave.
For more information on this issue, and for ways of addressing the gender wage gap at Ontario universities, please read OCUFA’s submission to Ontario’s Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee.