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AAAS Researcher Testifies on Pay Disparities
Between Male, Female Life Scientists
Federal legislators yesterday held a hearing in New York City that posed a question in its very title: "Women in Management: Are they Breaking the Glass Ceiling?"
The answer, according to testimony from a AAAS researcher and several others who joined her at the hearing, is "No."
Although AAAS's Renuka Chander was careful not to blame discrimination for disparities in pay for female life scientists, she told the Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations that the women in a AAAS survey of life scientists had reported earning nearly one-third less than men.
"Overall, we found differences of 32 percent in the median salaries of men and women life-scientists. This difference is explained, at least in part, by the fact that more men are further in their career cycle, have worked longer, and are in the high-income field of medicine and women are more frequently employed in lower-paid academic settings than outside academia," Chander told the policymakers. "However, in a further analysis that held constant the type of employer, the job level or job title, length of time in one's profession and size of organization, we found that women are paid less for similar work."
Chander, research manager in the AAAS Office of Membership & Meetings, was one of eight witnesses, most of whom testified that there continues to be a significant gap between what women and men are paid for comparable work. The field hearing in New York is part of a continuing effort in Congress to draw attention to the "glass ceiling" that prevents women from having equal access to senior management positions and pay.
"I look forward to hearing from each of you about your studies on women in the workforce," said US Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in a prepared opening statement. "I believe that this discussion will help explain how women are faring in the workplace, what improvements have been made and what policies can be implemented to achieve true parity in the workplace."
Maloney was joined by US Reps. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) and Stephen Horn (R-CA), the subcommittee chairman. Horn cited the subcommittee's "broad" and "diverse" jurisdiction as an explanation for its role in examining how professional women fare in the world of employment."We have examined an array of issues from child support and child care to computer security and medical privacy," Horn said in a prepared statement. "Today, we are here to examine an issue that affects families and the productivity of this Nation."
Chander's testimony was based on 8,692 responses to a survey sent to 19,000 life scientists, all AAAS members. The 32 percent disparity was found overall across the entire sample where the median salary of men was $94,000 and that of women, $72,000. The gap was found to be greater in higher level than lower-level positions in both academia and non-academia. Thus, among full professors, males earn a median $110,000 and females, $95,000, among academic administrators, $120,000 vs. $95,000, compared to $74,000 vs. $68,000 at the lower associate professor level. Women physicians who work outside academia earn a median of $90,000 a year, compared to their male counterparts, who earn $130,000. Female CEOs and VPs in non-academic settings earn about $125,000, versus $160,000 for men. Only among Principle Investigators, do women earn more than men with a median of $97,000 vs. the male median at $95,000. The survey was published in October 2001.
Copyright © 2013. American Association for the
Advancement of Science.
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