- Science & Tech
- On the Menu
Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
A public report of UC employee pay data from 2012 reveals that the top 14 highest paid UCSB employees are all male, and that of the top 30 highest paid employees, only two are female.
The report covers over 191,000 UC career faculty and staff employees, as well as part-time, temporary and student employees, and presents a summary analysis of UC’s 2012 payroll, along with breakdowns of pay by individual employee, personnel category and fund sources. The top five highest paid employees at UCSB, according to base pay as of 2012, are Chancellor Henry T. Yang, Dean of the College of Engineering Rod C. Alferness, Nobel Prize-winning physics professor David Gross, Nobel Prize Laureate and economics professor Finn Kydland and psychology professor Michael Gazzaniga.
The top two highest paid females, also based on base pay as of 2012, are Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Academic Policy Maria Herrera-Sobek, listed as the 15th highest paid employee at UCSB, and Dean of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Jane Close Conoley, listed as the 19th most paid. Of the top 40 highest paid employees listed, only five are female, and this includes Sobek, Conoley, mechanical engineering and computer science professor Linda Petzold, economics professor Shelly Lunderg, and psychological & brain services professor and chair Diane Mackie.
According to Sobek, in the midst of a discrepancy in pay between male and female employees, the university has developed programs to address some of the pipeline issues for faculty members and graduate students, such as more childcare, “Family friendly policies for faculty” and special organizations targeting women scientists such as Women in Science and Engineering, or WISE.
“Compensation is actually determined by a number of factors, including, but not limited to, seniority and field of study,” Sobek said. “Historically, universities’ leadership and senior faculty were predominantly male. That has been changing over the past several decades as institutions have made concerted efforts to recruit and retain female faculty.”
Despite these programs, Petzold, who has been a professor in the field of mechanical engineering and computer science at UCSB for the past 17 years and is one of the top five highest paid females on campus, said even though there is no “overt bias” at the university, there exists some “hidden biases in culture” generally.
“Sheryl Sandburg — she’s famous for working for the tech giant Google and now Facebook. She’s the one who says ‘Lean in,’” Petzold said. “’Lean in. Be aggressive.’ But studies say that if you’re too aggressive, you’re seen as being a ‘bitch’. So there’s this fine line you have to negotiate and … there are some subtle biases.”
Petzold also said the undergraduate population of women in computer science at UCSB is 10 percent, which is typical around country. According to her, the issue is not that women are not getting accepted into these majors, but rather that females are “not even applying.”
“The problem precedes the university,” Petzold said. “It occurs earlier than that. Over the course of my career, I’ve talked to various groups of women and have seen that the earliest the outreach, the better.”
According to feminist studies chair and professor Eileen Boris — who specializes in labor studies and women, work, and welfare — more women are in low wage jobs than men, and women dominate the fastest growing, lowest paid jobs in the country, which includes cafeteria and clerical workers. While that is not to say men do not occupy low wage jobs, nationally there are statistically more men who are in higher paid occupations, Boris said.
“A recent study just done by economist Claudia Goldin that was published this month in the American Economics Review says that the pay gap between men and women widens in the highest paid positions, like medicine and business,” Boris said. “So there’s something else happening. It isn’t just that women are in the lower paying occupations … It’s also that the structure of work is not flexible, in terms of location and in terms of hours.”
Boris said the university has to bring a critical lens not only to women’s ability to become professionals in fields such as the sciences, but also in the work conditions that form these environments.
“It isn’t just having women become mechanical engineers, but also looking at what is the condition of work in labs,” Boris said. “Women do pretty well in the post-doc stage, but after that there comes a gender gap because the tenure clock and the baby clock hit each other.”
While professors like Boris and economists like Goldin say the solution to bridging the gender pay gap is to change work structures nationwide, men’s rights proponents such as second-year political science major Jason Garshfield said this mentality does not take into account the “male side.”
“If we give scholarships to women to enter STEM fields, we should give scholarships to men to enter the humanities. If we institute maternity leave, we should also institute paternity leave,” Garshfield said. “I also believe we should get rid of the Feminist Studies program, and replace it with a program that gives a fair hearing to the perspectives of both genders.”
But according to Petzold’s account of her early career in mechanical engineering and computer science, she found it particularly difficult to compete in an “aggressive” and predominantly-male environment in which “men demand more” in comparison to women.
“I can say that early in my career, it was hard,” Petzhold said. “I think women grow up are being taught not to be as aggressive, to be more polite and to be helpful. All those things are innately good traits, but are not dominant traits early in careers of science and engineering … which is why it’s important we encourage women to be in these positions.”
At UCSB, 33 percent of faculty are women, and of those, 86 percent are tenured, according to Yang. Among the staff, 57 percent of professional and support staff are women and 44 percent of managers and senior professionals are women.
“We are continuously striving to ensure that our Academic Personnel and Human Resources processes and practices are without any gender bias,” Yang said. “Gender equity in pay is absolutely a priority that we must practice every day.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, May 2, 2014 edition of the Daily Nexus.