TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2020
According to Rutgers, yes: Does Rutgers pay its female professors less?
According to Rutgers, yes!
According to this New York Times news report, the university commissioned a study of the question in 2018. Here's what the study is said to have found:
KRAMER (10/15/20): At Rutgers, a study commissioned in 2018 by the university’s faculty union showed that when adjusted for rank, women who are tenured earned on average about 2 percent less than men. Because women make up only 30 percent of full professors and 20 percent of distinguished professors, the study also examined pay discrepancies among faculty members of different ranks.
We're puzzled by the logic of that second sentence, but let's let that go.
According to the study, tenured women earned two percent less than (tenured?) men—"when adjusted for rank."
What does it mean to "adjust for rank?" Based on the somewhat murky report, some Rutgers professors are "full professors," while others are "distinguished professors."
Does every tenured professor fit into one group or the other? We don't know, but that seems to be the matter of "rank" to which the report refers.
Among tenured professors, that looks like a rather small wage gap. By the way, was seniority—years of service—figured into the comparison?
The Times report doesn't say. But then, what else is new?
In that first passage, Jill Kramer reported what the study showed when adjustment was made for rank. In her next paragraph, Kramer reported this:
KRAMER (continuing directly): When rank was eliminated, women’s pay lagged more than 7 percent on average to men’s salaries, according to the study.
Women comprise a smaller percentage of the "distinguished professor" group. Is that because the university's female professors are, on average, younger and/or more recently hired? Or are tenured women, all basic factors being equal, less likely to get rated as "distinguished?"
We have no idea.
Kramer cited results of the study in the context of a news report about lawsuits brought against Rutgers by five female professors. These professors allege that they're being paid less than their male counterparts by what sounds like a set of large amounts.
The liberal world likes to talk about the gender wage gap. We especially like to make claims about this gap which everyone knows to be false.
Stating the obvious, women shouldn't be paid less than comparably qualified men, not even by two percent. But doggone it! When it comes time to examine cases, we tend to get handed lazy journalistic work.