Women Full Professors at Vassar College Allege a Long-Standing Gender Gap in Pay

A class action lawsuit has been filed that alleges that there has been a pervasive and long-standing gender-based disparity in pay between male and female full professors at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The suit was filed by five plaintiffs and supported by 35 additional women full professors at the college.

Vassar College was founded in 1861 and became one of the highly prestigious Seven Sister colleges that were the pinnacle of higher education for women in the United States. Vassar transitioned to coeducation in 1970.

The professors allege that Vassar has known for years that it unlawfully pays men more than women, and has for years refused to adequately address the discrimination. According to the lawsuit, average salary data reflect a gender pay gap at Vassar in every year for the last two decades. Most troublingly, the professors allege this gap has grown over time, with the most recent data reflecting a 10 percent gender pay disparity at Vassar.

The gender pay gap is only one of multiple long-term inequitable practices at the college, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs allege that there are substantial differences in the starting salaries of men and women, a merit ratings system that is biased against women, and a discriminatory promotion system that systematically prevents or delays the advancement of women professors relative to their male counterparts who are considered for and promoted earlier than comparable women.

In a statement, the five women plaintiffs say that “through this action, we seek to achieve what we were prevented from accomplishing through private internal channels: gender equity for ourselves and other female full faculty, and the adoption of fair processes to ensure that future generations of faculty are paid, promoted, and evaluated fairly.”

Filed Under: Discrimination


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