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equal pay

Barb Lewis barb at nmrfam.wisc.edu
Fri Jan 27 12:51:43 EST 1995

In article <199501262256.OAA11474 at netcomsv.netcom.com>,
dmoregan at genpharm.com ("Donna Munoz O'Regan") wrote:

> From time to time, there are articles written about how women are paid less than
> our male counterparts and that this occurs in every field.  Now, my question
> isn't whether this occurs or doesn't occur wherever you may be, but how do you
> address it if you are in the market?  I'm not looking now, it's just something
> some of my friends were discussing and I'm not proposing this question as a
> means to start a big flame session, but rather a constructive discussion of what
> we can do to prevent it from happening to us whenever we might be looking for a
> job next. 

If one is talking about lower pay *within* a field, I think a major problem
is that women tend to have a harder time negotiating salaries than do many
men. We have been so well socialized to be "nice" and "unselfish", and we
worry that people will dislike us for seeming greedy. (Whereas many men are
socialized to believe that their personal worth is partly indicated by
their salary.) It's probably worse among scientist types, since we tend to
be idealistic and think that we are working for the love of science, rather
than "just" for money.

I tend to have this problem, and my best resource for combating it is my
husband, who definitely does *not* have trouble asking for raises, etc. My
advice is to talk to lots of men in your field about it, to see how they go
about negotiating starting salaries, raises, etc. Also, get as much
information as you can about salaries in the specific field and location
before discussing money during a job interview - that way you will feel
confident that what you are asking for is not way out of line.

By the way, at public institutions like state universities, all salaries
are public information, and the library should have a reference which has
them. I can easily look up the salary of anyone here at Univ. of Wisconsin,
for example. It is clear that the highest paid professors in some
departments are not always the best scientists - just the best at
bargaining, getting other job offers, etc. Here, at least, the university
is more than happy to underpay anyone who is not aggressive about it.

Good luck!

Barb Lewis
e-mail: barb at nmrfam.wisc.edu - My own opinions, of course

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