Why its time to address the gender pay gap in education

gender pay

The gender pay gap debate is a hot and emotive topic at the moment, with the difference between men and women still being unfair despite the promise of equality. Late last year, Jennifer Lawrence was amongst the many famous faces drawing attention to the gender pay gap, as it was revealed she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts. And the gender pay gap is not just restricted to the Hollywood movies. There is a disturbing difference in pay for female and male professionals in the education industry. Not only that, but the lack of women in higher positions is significantly lower than men.

Recent figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency have found the number of people employed in the UK higher education sector has passed 400,000, with a notable rise in the number of full-time female academics, increasing by 5% since 2013. This rise in female employment in education does raise the question of how are women still receiving less income for the same work level?

Differences in pay

Looking closely at wages in the higher education sector, a sector related to further education, Equality in Higher Education: Statistical Report 2015 reported on average, female academics are paid £6,146 less than men. Along with the pay reduction, there are significantly less women in senior roles, highlighting a patriarchal dominance. For academics on the higher pay bracket of £50,000, around 37,425 are male, compared with just 17,415 women.

This difference even starts at graduation, with female graduates earning £5,000 less than male graduates; this gap increases to £9,000 for lawyers.

Tackling this difference – balancing gender pay

To tackle this problem is to create awareness. There are still a number of people who believe the pay gap is a ‘myth’. Yet, with celebrity endorsement and increasing media coverage, the rumours of the ‘pay gap myth’ are being discredited. With overwhelming evidence and statistics suggesting otherwise, awareness of the lack of equality needs addressing to gain more support.

However, AoC Jobs believes that women should not be discouraged from teaching in further education. The AoC believes in equality and does not adapt income depending on gender and, as more women enter teaching, the balance of pay is shifting and career progression is increasing. One of the main differences in education has been the lack of women in higher paid positions but HESA statistics have revealed that the number of female professors rose, with 23% of professors being female, showing the progression of women in academia. This is reflected in the further education sector where colleges are encouraging more women to take up roles as educators. Moreover programs including the STEM Alliance are being used to urge students, particularly women into skilled careers.

Supporting women in education

The AoC works alongside the STEM alliance, aiming to get female academics into teaching STEM subjects. The alliance hopes to keep UK sectors at the front of innovation by encouraging and supporting STEM teaching professionals to promote maths and science fields to young talent. Not only this, but STEM offers a chance to recruit new teaching professionals, women in particular, into areas which are stereotypically male orientated and has great opportunities for career growth and promotion.

Building on from the STEM Alliance, the Athena SWAN charter focuses on encouraging advancing careers of women in STEMM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Maths, Medicine) employment in higher education. In 2015, this was extended to include AHSSBL (Arts, Humanities, Social Science, Business, Law). The main aim of SWAN is to advance gender equality in academia, addressing the lack of women across careers and the absence of women in senior academic roles.

Register today with AoC Jobs and find a rewarding career in further education.

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