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Why is Queen's University not doing more to stop disparity between what men and women earn?

letter of the day: gender pay gap

The opinion article by Fionola Meredith, "Queen's University's gender pay gap sadly exposes a culture that's dominated by male academics" (Comment, May 12), hit the nail on the head and further highlighted a shocking situation with regard to gender and pay.

However, this comes as no surprise to the management and staff at Queen's University. They have been aware of a widening gender pay gap among professors through internal audits going back at least 10 years and the University and College Union has pressed for action all along.

In 2013, the gap became more public through data from the Government's Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Then, the gender gap in professors' pay was 12.8%. By 2014, it was up to 14.4% and became much more public as a result.

In response to a BBC report in May 2016 of a 14% gender pay gap, a Queen's University spokeswoman said that the institution had identified the gap at professorial level and had taken "immediate steps to address this". However, by 2017, it is still at 14.4% and little has changed. This is disappointing after so many years.

Only relatively few staff reach the highest level of professor in universities such as Queen's and the majority of other staff are paid at much lower rates. A relatively small number of professors, both male and female, are paid at the very highest level, but it seems that these are mostly male at Queen's.

Restructuring since 2015 saw Queen's University create several additional senior academic posts that attracted very high salaries.

Most of these new positions are now occupied by males and this tends to exacerbate the situation further.

PROFESSOR MIKE LARKIN

Retired professor and former President of the University and College Union, Queen's University Belfast

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