The student journalist at our student newspaper who addressed the myth of a gender based wage gap appears to have maintained his job though the experience so far. There have also been no published letters to the editor in response. However, there have been a flurry of feminist flavored opinion pieces in the last few weeks ("reproductive rights" are about women's health-yeah, right- and how fans should accept the new female mascot who has traditionally been a male figure with distinctly masculine characteristics).
Today, I had a conversation with one of my female colleagues related to the "wage gap".
Colleague (C): Did you fill out the faculty satisfaction survey?
Learner (L): Not yet. What kinds of questions are on it?
C: About the work environment. They asked if you think you get treated differently because you are a woman. If you get paid less, are respected less, that kind of thing.
L: How did you answer?
C: Well you know we get paid less. (as state employees, anyone can look at the state website and see what our salaries are)
L: Are you sure that is because we're women? There really isn't a valid comparison between us and the guys. We all have different levels of experience and education as well as different job titles.
C: Well A (most recently hired male) does make less than us.
L: I don't think it is a male/female thing.
C: B makes more than us, but what does he do?
L: B is the (administrative title), that's why he makes more. He can have it, I wouldn't want that job.
C: D makes more than us.
L: D finished his PhD and is a higher rank.
C: Okay...... I still think it is discrimination. We'll see what happens when you finish your doctorate.
L: D will still have more experience and a higher rank than me. Those sorts of things really can explain the difference for the most part.
C: ends conversation
So, after my colleague left I had to check out the survey for myself. The invitation email said "The purpose of the survey is to identify factors that contribute to a positive work environment for all faculty. Although the survey is being administered by the Council for Women's Concerns, survey results will be used to inform administration of ALL faculty needs."
After I read that, the language in the survey came as no surprise to me. There were gender neutral questions that read "do you get treated differently because of your gender?" (notice, it is not asking better or worse) and woman specific questions like "are women overly sensitive to workplace discrimination issues?" but no male specific questions. It was not hard to see a feminine bias in the survey. It doesn't seem that the information gained is actually going to serve the needs of all faculty.