An investigation by Nouse has uncovered statistics showing a pay gap of over £2,718 between male and female Professors at the University, as well as a dominance of males in senior academic positions.
Men make up 77 per cent of Professors currently working at the University, as opposed to females who make up just 23 per cent.
74 per cent of Heads of Department are also male, compared to 26 per cent female, and 78 per cent of clinical staff are male, with only 22 per cent being female.
Women form an average of 37 per cent of all academic professionals across UK universities, compared to 31 per cent at York.
Charlie Leyland, YUSU Academic Affairs Officer, has spoken out, stating: “I wonder how a system dominated by white middle-class males affects the diversity of our teaching and learning.”
Although David Garner, University Press Officer, said the University was, “committed to the implementation and monitoring of equality and diversity,” he “recognise[s] that there is more to do”.
When examining departments, Nouse found Computer Science to have just 10.6 per cent of female academic staff – the lowest of all University departments. The Philosophy department has only three women out of 24 staff. The Mathematics department was similarly skewed.
When asked to comment on this issue, Garner told Nouse that the Physics department has been recognised by the Institute of Physics for the “efforts it has made to reduce gender inequality among its staff.” Despite this, Nouse found that women account for just 11.6 per cent of academic staff in the Physics department – the department with the third lowest percentage of women at the University.
Leyland cited the University’s “intransigence over issues such as nursery provision, student parent accommodation” and described “a slow move towards flexible and advanced timetabling… as symptomatic of a system which doesn’t take the female or family perspective seriously into account.”
She continued to say how she is “deeply concerned” by the lack of transparency in the University’s promotions system. She stated that “opaqueness in promotion, the most cited cause of the national pay gap, is rife in [York’s] academic environment. This is the most cited cause of the national pay gap.”
She accused the University of concealing their antiquated promotional system under the guise of “academic freedoms”, meaning York “is not leading the way in equality at all levels in what should be a forward thinking, intellectual community.”
Professor Joanna de Groot, Senior Professor of the History Department, agreed that “there is room for the University to improve”, adding that, “the criteria for academic achievements favour particular qualities that are seen as gender specific even if they are not.”
She describes Leyland’s demands for “flexible timetabling” as “complicated”, explaining that, “the ‘long hours’ culture of academia is a real issue, as it’s easier to conform to the demands of long hour culture if you have no dependents.”
However, de Groot believes we must “look to the future not backward.” She added: “When I started out females only made up three to four per cent of Professors.”
The University has also been criticised for gender discrimination in regard to wages for similar jobs.
York has an eight grade pay scale for academic and non-academic staff; just 29 per cent of those on the highest grade of pay (£45,155 upward) are female opposed to 71 per cent male. This is in contrast to those on the lowest grade of pay (£13,856 upward), 64 per cent of whom are female compared to just 36 per cent male.
The vast majority of Senior Managers are male (68 per cent), in contrast to 32 per cent female.
Ceri Goddard, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, which fights for equality in the workplace, stated: “We need a whole package of measures including tougher requirements on employers, more flexible working and more well paid, part-time working options.”
Ellie Kuper Thomas, an ex-YUSU Women’s Officer, has called the situation “shocking” in such a “liberal institution”.
She continued to say that “the segregation of women into the lower paid jobs, and the dominance of men at the top, appears to be a clear feature of the University’s employment structure”. However, Thomas was keen to stress “the field of academia is amongst the worst in terms of such segregation and pay differentials”.
Garner also commented, saying that the “University is committed to the implementation and monitoring of equality and diversity”, stating that “is just one of the 12 UK universities to win Athena Swan awards in recognition of its success in providing positive support for women scientists during their careers, and demonstrating progress on gender equality in the fields of science, engineering and technology.”