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UU straightens out pay for 30 female scientists

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Over the past two years, Utrecht University has promoted thirty female scientists to a higher job level. This happened after an investigation into the gender pay gap at the UU.

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Two years ago, a study by professor Belle Derks showed that female university teachers and associate professors at UU work at the highest level within those positions less often than at other Dutch universities.

The university’s permanent positions for scientists consist of two levels: 1 is the highest and 2 is the lowest. Among the university teachers, 45 percent work at level 1 in Utrecht, compared to 49 percent nationally. For the associate professors, this is 31.8 percent, compared to 39.8 percent nationally.

Female professors from Utrecht do work at job level 1 more often than the national average, but this is still a relatively low percentage of women (UU: 24.4 percent, national: 18.2 percent).

The smaller proportion of women at the highest job levels prompted UU to ask all deans to investigate whether the differences between men and women with regard to job level are justified, given the criteria that apply. It is possible that there was a bias and that women should be promoted. The result of this investigation was more than thirty promotions, the university board says. This involves an additional 100,000 euros in wage costs on an annual basis.

According to the Utrecht-based Board of Examiners member Annetje Ottow awareness about pay differences is important. “The wage gap at UU is smaller than average at universities, but there is work to be done. As the Board of Examiners, we will continue to work with the faculties on improving the positions of women in the academic hierarchy.”

Differences in pay
Belle Derks charted the national pay gap among scientists for the National Network of Female Professors in 2016. She was then asked by the Utrecht University Board to also report on the situation in Utrecht. UU was, just like the VU, earlier than Tilburg University, which published the results last week. UU did not publish the findings earlier, but now does so as requested.

The Derks study shows that male professors, associate professors and university teachers at UU earned an average of 697 euros gross per month more than women in those positions. In the national survey that was 798 euros. The differences at the Rebo (586 euros) and Bèta (471 euros) faculties were the largest in Utrecht. Male scientists there, with an average of 5961 euros and 5798 euros gross per month, were also the biggest earners at UU. The difference between women and men was the smallest in Social Sciences (43 euros).

If age is not taken into account, a wage difference of 393 euros remains (390 euros nationally). On average, women are younger than men at UU, mainly because many women have found permanent jobs or have been promoted only recently.

If corrected for the fact that women often work in lower positions than men (261 euros) and more often at lower levels within a position (37 euros) an unexplained difference of 6 euros remains in Utrecht. Nationally that was 53 euros, in Tilburg even 175 euros.

Closely monitoring
The study also shows that in Utrecht a larger proportion of the university teaching positions, associate professorships and professorships are filled by women than nationally. But in Utrecht in 2018 only 27, 9 percent of the professors at UU were women.

According to Ottow, promotion within job scales remains a regular part of the personnel policy. "To closely monitor and to assess whether we are on the right track and where adjustments are needed, we ask Belle Derks to repeat her research based on the figures from 2019."

 

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