The gender gap of faculty and staff in higher education is an issue that is becoming increasingly important to women nationwide, but also to women on AU’s campus. Statistically, women make up one quarter of the total amount of college professors, and men outnumber women in the position of college president two to one.
One nationwide group that addresses these issues and many more relating to women in higher education is the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Dr. Marie Morris, provost at AU, felt compelled to meet with President Pistole to officially make AU a member of the AAUW.
“President Pistole and I decided that AU should become a member of the American Association for University Women,” said Morris. “With that membership, the university gets two members. They are Stephanie Moran, community engagement officer for the university, and Dr. Jaye Rogers, professor of history and chair of the Department of History & Political Science. I have held my own personal membership for the last number of years.”
When asked about specific things that she believes need to be addressed, both nationwide and at AU, Morris said: “One of the ways we are working to address any salary inequities is to benchmark salaries against benchmark standards.”
“These benchmarks better allow us to compensate for the role without gender bias,” she continued. “For example, faculty salaries are benchmarked against salaries at similar institutions and with regard to rank and discipline. This way we can make sure that male and female faculty are being compensated at the same level.”
Dr. Jaye Rogers noted that the AAUW is a multifaceted organization that does much more than just address “pay equity and combating gender gaps in employment.”
“The organization also provides scholarships, educational opportunities and networking with women across a wide spectrum of higher education—from well-known schools like Harvard to state institutions such as Purdue and even private faith-based universities like AU,” Rogers said.
“Large schools and smaller colleges, public and private—we don’t always have opportunities to talk to each other,” Rogers said. “AAUW provides members a wealth of knowledge and a chance to share ideas and experiences regardless of the size of the institutions.”
To get the ball rolling and get the word out to other AU faculty and staff, Morris, Rogers and Moran organized a luncheon.
“When we extended the invitation for this first women’s luncheon we weren’t sure how many AU women faculty and staff would even be interested,” said Morris.
“We had 56 women RSVP to come. We will be following up with these women with a survey to find out if they want to continue to meet and what kind of educational topics or service projects they would have interest in pursuing.”
“Because even though we have made great strides, women still do not make as much as men for the same job and still are not considered for executive leadership positions as readily as men. You can get more facts from the AAUW website. You’ll see on the their website that there’s lots of research and development opportunities,” Morris continued.
Rogers noted, too, that an array of topics were discussed at the luncheon: “One of the questions we asked at the luncheon was what kind of ‘programs’ would women like to have at meetings? Not surprisingly, women want to learn more about issues that we all address throughout the stages of our lives: financial and retirement planning; serving as caretakers for aging relatives and navigating the mountains of paperwork for Medicare and nursing homes; juggling work and home responsibilities; personal wellness, etcetera.”
“So yes, our efforts as women employed by the University look at gender and pay gaps locally and nationally, but AAUW also provides us the chance to learn from other women in ways that have an impact on both our professional and personal lives,” Rogers said.
In closing, Morris said, “When we can empower young women and girls to be the person God created them to be, contribute to society in meaningful ways and be respected, then I think our world can be a better place.”