Gender wage gap creates gap in values

I know this is probably a shock in light of recent news, but there is a gap in salary across gender lines at Guilford. Here’s an even bigger shock: men are getting paid more than women.

Because Guilford holds equality as one of its core values, the gender wage gap should be eliminated. While one still persists we continue to be in direct violation of the Quaker values.

“Nationally there’s a gender wage gap,” said Professor of Philosophy Nancy Daukas. “It’s our responsibility to look at it and say, ‘How are we doing with that here?’

“And it’s particularly our responsibility to look at that because we are so focused on our core values, including justice and equality.”

The average difference in faculty salaries between men and women at Guilford is between $4,000 and $7,000 depending on the school year.

The report on faculty compensation at Guilford by Professor of Economics Bob Williams, most recently updated in 2012, attributes some of the differences in salary to an overall higher population of male professors than female.

Salary inequity across gender and rank at Guilford has long been an issue and it is important that such inequity is identified and corrected. Evaluation of salary inequity across other social categories, such as race, should also be examined and made fair and equal.

Transparency is key to fixing salary inequity with regard to gender as well as other areas. In the last year, President Jane Fernandes has increased transparency surrounding Guilford’s financial practices and continues making an effort to do so.

“I think money is for us now like what sex was for the Victorians — something that everybody does, but you just don’t talk about it,” said Professor of English Jim Hood ’79 who serves on the compensation committee created by Fernandes.

“I think we should be very open about how we spend our money because that’s how you actualize your values.”

Seemingly a main goal for Fernandes, she’s taking actions to restore equity, such as creating a compensation committee given the task of developing a new philosophy and plan for fair compensation at Guilford.

“I’m so hopeful right now,” said Daukas. “Having a women president is a very empowering thing. And I have a lot of faith in her gender awareness.”

While steps are being taken, a common sentiment is that Guilford has a long road ahead.

“[Guilford’s] not there yet,” said CCE senior and WGSS minor Teiji Williams. “We want to be there. We want to say we’re equally treating people. We want to do the right thing.

“We want that reputation, but we’re not there yet.”

The many issues of inequity plaguing Guilford contradict the seven core values of equality, justice, integrity, stewardship, diversity and excellence that we pride ourselves on striving to uphold.

Having a gender wage gap at Guilford is not only problematic. It is also unjust.

We need to immediately begin working toward erasing the gap. Certain actions being taken in response to salary inequity at the school show promise, but there is still not enough being done.

For example, a starting point could be an initiative to gather more current and concrete data on gender differences in salary along with other unfair differences in salary at Guilford, and then widely publicizing that information.

Guilford cannot claim to value equality if men and women are being paid differently or if any two groups at Guilford are being paid differently for the same work.

Instances of unfair differences in salary are examples of Guilford perpetuating injustice and immediate action must be taken in order to restore justice for all those, like female professors, receiving unequal pay at Guilford.