Group Plans Test Measuring College Salary Discrimination
A committee of college professors will use Harvard, along with a number of other private colleges, to develop a standard method of testing whether female faculty members are paid as much as comparable male faculty on college campuses.
The Exxon Education Foundation yesterday awarded a grant of $50,600 to fund the project. Robert Dorfman, Wells Professor of Political Economy, will co-chair the committee composed of members of the American Association of University Professors.
Dorfman, who is on leave this year at the Brookings Institution, said the committee "is very much concerned with the problem of discrimination against women in university and college faculties" and will operate under "the assumption that there is no place where women are getting as much as men."
Dorfman said the committee's aim is to emerge from testing procedures at Harvard and other schools with "directions, formulas and model questionnaires that a university administration or faculty group could use on their own campus" to evaluate salary differentials on the basis of sex.
Many colleges, he said, "exploit women by hiring them part-time," excluding them from the fringe benefits received by full-time professors. "Harvard is clean there, we don't do that," he added.
But Harvard is "strange." Dorfman said, because it has so few female professors on its faculty. There are presently seven tenured female professors out of a total of 378, and such small numbers make average comparisons difficult, he added.
Before the Exxon grant was awarded. Dorfman said the committee approached many university administrations for possible funding of a trial development project, but none were willing to put up the money. "Rosovsky's getting awfully stingy. I asked him for $5000 and he wouldn't give it to me," Dorfman said.
Phyllis Keller, assistant to Rosovsky and Equal Employment Officer for the Faculty, said Harvard "is on very solid ground on the equity issue" with junior faculty salaries running along a set scale irrespective of department or sex as are associate professors salaries.