This year, women had to work until March 14th in order to earn the same compensation as men did during the previous year. That pay gap has changed very little, decreasing by only 2 percent in the last 20 years. In 2022 in the general workforce, women earned about 82 cents for every dollar men earned. That amount is even lower for women of color at 65 cents and 60 cents for Black and Latina women, respectively. A major contributing factor to the continued pay gap is that societal pressures and cultural expectations disproportionately push women to make work-life changes to accommodate childcare and other family needs. One study suggests that women feel more work-family guilt over such responsibilities. Workplace policies can encourage these stereotypes; for example, parental leave often applies only to birth mothers, perpetuating the assumption that they are primarily responsible for childcare.
There have been efforts to move toward equity at Michigan Tech. For example, MTU policy specifies the birth mother or primary caregiver is entitled to six weeks of paid leave or one semester of course relief, while the non-birth mother or secondary caregiver is entitled to two weeks of paid leave. In addition, among tenure-track and tenured faculty at Michigan Tech in 2022, there is an average salary difference of $10 – $15k between genders by rank; numbers by race/ethnicity are too low to deduce any trends. However, Michigan Tech is approaching gender pay equity by rank in Engineering/Computing as well as Natural, Social and Mathematical Sciences. However, it is important to remember that until women and men have similar workloads via indicators such as student credit hours taught, true pay equity will not be achieved. Recommendations to address the gender pay gap include providing sufficient and affordable childcare, flexible and fair scheduling practices, and paid family and medical leave. At Michigan Tech, we can continue to advocate for more equitable practices that support the continued career success of women in order to overcome this gap.
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