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Evening the odds: Gender Equity Approached

Two open session meetings were held Friday afternoon, Oct. 3 for staff, faculty and administrators in regarding “Gender Equity and the Status of Women at Concordia College.”

The Gender Equity Committee administered a survey to Concordia staff, faculty and administrators which included questions concerning “experiences of women and men with regard to professional and medical leaves, opportunities to seek leadership positions, barriers in promotion and retention, access to mentoring and experiences with harassment,” according to an executive summary provided for staff, faculty and administrators at Concordia.

The analysis of this data provided new information regarding gender equity at Concordia. The session presented inequalities in aspects like retention, medical leave, and leadership advancement.

According to Susan Larson, professor of Women’s Studies, 66 percent of those who received the survey responded. With that high of a response rate, the results of the survey represents. There were over 70 questions, mostly quantitative, with four open ended questions.

President Craft hopes to continue to give this survey in order to compensate for changes that may happen over the years.

“I think this shouldn’t be the last time,” Craft said.

Lisa Sethre-Hofstad, Task Force Chair, said years of experience, academic rank, tenure status, gender and terminal degree explain varying salaries.

“Gender contributes more to the prediction of salary than terminal degree,” Sethre-Hofstad said. “Women’s salaries, on average, are lower than men’s salaries across all ranks.”

That being said, Sethre-Hofstad explained some of the factors affecting salaries, suggesting women have a harder time acquiring tenure.

“When looking at men and women separately, tenure status contributes to women’s salary but not men’s, Sethre-Hofstad said. “A higher proportion of women are in non-tenure eligile positions at the college so this salary difference is not likely to improve over time without intentional effort.”

Despite the salary inequalities presented by Sethre-Hofstad, Larson claims most people like working at Concordia.

“Concordia employees in general reported being satisfied with their work experiences,” Larson said.

Though most faculty and staff enjoy their workplace, different genders hold a different opinion.

“Women are reporting a different experience working at Concordia than men,” Larson said.

According to the data presented at the open sessions, few women work in higher up positions such as the president’s cabinet. If women do hold these positions, they are more likely to be part-time, and their salaries are lower.

Salary isn’t the only factor that affects whether employees enjoy working at Concordia. Although salary plays a large role in the reason faculty enjoys working here, other things contribute like the student body, according to Craft.

According to him, work will be done this year to attempt to fix some of these problems that were discovered from this study.

Craft mentioned a process to establishing minimum salaries at each rank, which would address the problem of women starting at a lower salary.

“Although this session is about the data, we don’t have any intentions to let the data just sit,” Craft said.

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