The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
The Student has reported twice in the past month on the gender pay gap with regards to a lawsuit brought agaisnt Miami University by two female finance professors, Kelly Brunarski and Yvette Harman.
Brunarksi and Harman earn $175,000 a year, while two male professors, David Shrider and Terry Nixon, are paid nearly $200,00 and $185,000 respectively. In the story “Finance professors sue Miami for gender discrimination” published on April 8, The Miami Student reported that “this pay disparity is not justified by seniority, merit or any other factors.”
Neither male professor holds seniority over the female professors and, to worsen the matter, Nixon and Shrider have contributed 4 publications since earning tenure, whereas Brunarski has 6 and Harman has 7.
The Farmer School of Business (FSB) fosters male-female inequalities not only among the hierarchies, but also among the students it serves. According to the Office of Institutional Research, FSB educates 4057 students in majors like accountancy, business economics, finance and marketing — 2432 male, 1625 female, which amounts to a 60 percent to 40 percent breakdown. Within the aforementioned majors, the ratios between male and female are as follows: accountancy 55 percent to 45 percent; business economics 71 percent to 29 percent; finance 81 percent to 19 percent; marketing 34 percent to 64 percent.
Of course, when business, a historically male-dominant field, is compared to the numbers in education — historically female-dominant — a similar trend in lopsided numbers arises (College of Education, Health and Society sees a 70 percent to 30 percent female to male). These numbers are indicative of a societal norm that has been begging for a solution for decades. And, if these fields continue to show stereotypical gender participation, the pay gap might sway some, sure, but it will always return to the societal norm. Men stay in business-related, lucrative fields while women are bound to educational fields, where money is certainly nothing to write home about.
Some argue that women are not bound to these fields, that this is simply a social construct around which they must maneuver. After all, don’t they decide on their own?
Of course women are free to study and pursue the areas which their hearts so achingly desire, but the idea of social constructs is a challenge that diverts females from doing so. Through them, women are brought up with the notion that they are best suited to pursue paths like caretaker and educator. It’s only natural that women be excluded from the hierarchies of the world and earn 78 percent of that which their male counterparts earn, according to Vox.com. Or so society thinks.
It is clear that the factors that go into this issue are societal. The question is then begged of what the solution for closing the gap between men’s pay and women’s pay is. Well, if the problem is societal, the solution must be as well.
The gender roles that society bears on men and women are learned at a young age. Therefore, it is important for families to teach their children that both men and women can achieve the same sort of economic success in this country that should be offered as an opportunity to everyone.
Parents should raise their young girls to believe that they can go into more lucrative fields, aspire to manage and negotiate better pay just as men currently do more often than women, according to Vox. The ability to control one’s own destiny through assertion and ambition should not be tied to masculinity, but shared with all members of society.
There is currently hope that women may be able to further close the pay gap, as the rate of 27-year-old-women with college degrees in 2014 was larger than that of their male counterparts at 32 percent to 24 percent, according to the Labor Department. Hopefully with the passing of time and the progression of such trends, the disparity between men and women will decrease. However, these positive changes can only go so far if society does not change with them.
At Miami, the data clearly shows that this problem persists. Whether or not we start take the steps to fixing it is up to us.