Female staff working for the University of Oxford earn on average 13.7% less than male staff. This means, for example, that:
- male academics earned on average £7,626 more in 2016 than their female colleagues
- effectively, women worked for free from 12th November 2018 to the end of the year
How lovely, given we are in the 21st century.
But sarcasm aside, lets talk gender pay gap more seriously, starting with:
What is the gender pay gap?
Legislation requires employers to report on the pay gap between men and women. The University of Oxford does so here. The 13.7% gender pay gap reported is the difference in the average (median) hourly rates paid to female and male staff. (Unequal pay is a different type of inequality, where two people are doing the same job, or similar work, but do not receive the same pay.)
Why is there a gender pay gap at the University of Oxford?
One factor might be that women are more likely than men to be employed in lower paid roles: 65.1% of workers in the lowest pay quartile are female, whilst women constitute only 37.2% of the highest pay quartile. Casualisation contributes to this gap for academic, research, teaching and professional staff.
So, how can we close the gap?
The University of Oxford is rightly taking some steps to increase the proportion of female staff in senior and highly paid roles. However, this alone is unlikely to be enough: other HE institutions with a more equal gender pay balance in the most senior roles still have overall pay gaps.
Tackling pay inequality requires a genuine commitment to improving the pay and working conditions of female staff within Oxford University, across all departments, job descriptions and pay grades.
The 2018 pay and equality claim seeks a sectoral commitment to close the gender pay gap by 2020. You can find more information on the gender pay gap, and on how UCU is campaigning for pay equality, here
Dear University of Oxford: Mentoring programmes, nursery places, and Athena SWAN awards are wonderful, no doubt. But until the effects of those fully kick in on the gender pay gap front, how about an interim solution? It works elsewhere:
- Following a study that found women at London School of Economics earned 10.5% less than men with similar experience and output, female academics are set to be given a salary increase, aimed at redressing the gender pay gap at the institution.
- This follows University of Essex’s decision to move its female professors up three pay points to bring average salaries in line with male counterparts.
- University of Bristol UCU have agreed a joint statement with the university in which the employer commits to negotiate with UCU in order ‘to ensure we achieve our shared objective of eliminating the gender pay gap among academic staff.’
Just an idea.