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Pay gap for women social work faculty continues nationwide

WVU Today

Leslie Tower

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Leslie Tower, professor of social work at West Virginia University, found in a nationally representative survey that female social work faculty make less than their male counterparts by nearly $6,000 a year in spite of the fact that women are the majority in the profession.

“Much attention has been given to the underrepresentation of women in STEM and the lack of gender parity in resource allocation,” Tower said. “This study is an important reminder that women have not yet gained gender parity in women-majority professions, in this case, social work.”

Tower, along with co-authors Anna Faul (University of Louisville), Christina Chiarello-Helminiak (West Chester University) and Diane Hodge (Radford University) found that men social work faculty with no administrative duties earned nearly the same salary as women with administrative duties – $82,300 vs. $82,800, respectively.

The researchers found that despite the overrepresentation of female social work faculty, men are more likely to hold the most prestigious rank of professor, while women are more likely to hold the rank of associate professor, instructor or other titles.

Women also experience a greater salary penalty when they teach in undergraduate-only social work programs.

While a pay gap continues to exist, the gap has narrowed by about $4,000 since 2003, Hodge said. Since the last national study, parity has improved in other areas, such as in administrative positions and tenure status.

“This study shows that while some gains have been made, sadly we are not post-women’s equity,” Tower said.

The study was published on March 26 in Affilia.

CONTACT: Katlin Swisher
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
304.293.9264; [email protected]

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