Women Are Scarce Among the Top Earners at America’s Most Prestigious Universities

A new study from the American Association of Univerity Women examines the percentages of women among the top-10 salary earners at 130 universities in 44 states.

The data shows that women are 60 percent of all professional employees at these institutions but only 24 percent of the top earners. A woman was the highest-salaried employee at 18 percent of the institutions surveyed.

At the University of Nevada Las Vegas, there were six women among the top-10 earners. At 10 other universities, women were half of the top earners. At the other 119 universities, men held a majority of the top-10 earning positions. At eight of the 130 universities, there were no women among the top-10 earners.

The authors make a series of recommendations that universities should take to eliminate this vast gender gap. Among these recommendations are:

  • Ban the use of salary history as a component of the interview process and for pay setting.
  • Conduct pay equity analyses on a regular basis, making key findings publicly available.
  • Make bold, long-term public commitments to reach equitable representation for women among the top-earning university employees and do the same for each college, graduate school, and academic center within the university.
  • Presidents should create annual benchmarks to work toward those goals. Boards should hold presidents accountable, and donors should hold boards accountable.

The authors conclude: “The pipeline of diverse talent is available in higher education, so solutions must focus on removing systemic barriers and biases within institutional cultures.”

The full 98-page report, The Power Gap Among Top Earners at America’s Elite Universities, may be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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  1. Amy E Den Ouden says:

    Thank you for this, and all you publish here. My institution didn’t even acknowledge International Women’s Day yesterday. As a woman faculty member who has been subjected to vicious misogynist gender-based harassment and discrimination at UMass Boston, it is some comfort to learn of this Power Gap report today. Again, thank you.

    Amy E. Den Ouden, PhD (cultural anthropologist), she/her/they
    Associate Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department ; Affiliate Faculty, Native American and Indigenous Studies and School for the Environment
    University of Massachusetts Boston
    Andrew W. Mellon Native American Initiative-Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellow at the American Philosophical Society, 2019-2020

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