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  • Canadian School Fights Pay Gap By Giving Only Women A Raise

    In an effort to eliminate what it says is an unjustified gap in the pay of male and female professors, Canada’s McMaster University has hit upon a novel solution: Giving an across-the-board raise exclusively to women, without raising pay for men.

    The $3,515 ($2,900 in U.S. dollars) raise will be the same for every woman at the school, regardless of what their salary was beforehand.

    “This signals to the world, to Canada and to Hamilton, that McMaster is truly committed to equality. It sends a very clear signal that we are interested in recruiting the best faculty, including women,” dean of Social Sciences Charlotte Yates said, according to the National Post.

    The raise was given after the university conducted an internal study to examine differences in pay between men and women at the school. According to the study’s result, men outearned women by an average of $2,900  even after adjusting for age, seniority, tenure, and department.

    The measure is only one of several being taken by the school in an effort to create equality between the sexes. The school is also attempting to equalize its male and female faculty hires, in an effort to phase out the current situation where most faculty are men.

    While universities are typically regarded as bastions of liberalism, that hasn’t stopped the issue of gender pay gaps from repeatedly cropping up. In the United States, an internal audit at the University of California-Berkeley revealed that the school has a pay gap of between 1.8 and 4.3 percent, though administrators there thus far haven’t considered a single-sex pay hike. (RELATED: Even Ultra-Liberal UC-Berkeley Has A Pay Gap)

    There is significant debate over whether a male-female pay gap genuinely exists, and if so, just how large it is. While labor statistics indicate that women on average earn about 78 percent of what men do, much of the difference can be explained by men working longer hours, entering more lucrative fields, and being less likely to take time off for raising children. Some research has suggested that all or most of the remaining gap can be explained by women being less aggressive in negotiating salaries or seeking raises. That, in turn, has caused a handful of companies, such as the popular website Reddit, to try eliminating the pay gap by simply abolishing salary negotiations.

    While the pay raise at McMaster could compensate for this difference in negotiation approaches, it’s possible that other explanations could exist for the pay gap. For example, UC-Berkeley’s study didn’t adjust for the possibility that male professors were more heavily-cited, arguing that male professors were biased against women when it came to citing papers.

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