Gender Pay Gap: Eliminated? Or… not so much

According to a recent study conducted by the College of University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), women administrators in higher education earn 80 cents on the dollar when compared to men.


The study notes that although the pay gap seemed to be shrinking at a faster rate in the early 2000s, that it has slowed since 2001 and has only narrowed 3 cents since then.  The survey attributes the lack of improvement in the pay gap to the Great Recession, where funding to higher education dropped, and had a greater economic impact on women and minorities.

In addition to this most recent CUPA-HR study, the latest national data from 2014 by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) reported that white, non-Hispanic women earn 79 percent of what white non-Hispanic men do.  The number drops even more dramatically for women of color, who earn 64 percent of what white men do; Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women earn 65 percent; American Indian and Alaska Native women earn 59 percent, and Hispanic or Latina women earn only 54 percent.


While there are people that may believe that the gender pay gap no longer exists, the research clearly proves otherwise.  And what’s more, the impacts of the pay gap reach farther than just what a woman earns on her paycheck vs. her male counterpart.  Other financial impacts to women include “the pink tax,” where women are paying an average of $1,355 more every year for buying the exact same products as men, only women are being charged more because of gender.  Items like soap, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and other personal care items that all people need to use, are often marketed by gender and marked up, pricewise, for women.  Also, as a whole, female-dominated occupations, such as teaching, nursing, and social work pay less than those dominated by men.

While much of this research can be discouraging, and at times overwhelming, there are things you can do.  CUPA-HR offers the following suggestions as next steps for you as an employee, manager, supervisor, or administrator:

  • Examine the data and ask yourself the following questions:
    • How well-represented are women in administrative positions?
    • Are women being paid comparably to men in similar positions?
  • Benchmark salaries to compare yours with other similarly situated institutions.
  • Recognize that representation is not the only issue for women in administrative positions. There is still a considerable pay gap in positions where women are well-represented.  Identify whether such pay gaps exist at your institution.
  • Based on the data, begin to identify what steps can be implemented or updated in your efforts to recruit and retain top, diverse talent.

And finally, an additional question for us all:

What does an institution need to have in place for us to consider it successful in its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and what responsibility do YOU have to help make that a reality?

For more information:
80 Cents on the Dollar

CUPA-HR Research Brief

Impacts of the Gender Pay Gap

Women are Having Way Too Much Fun to Retire