Survey shows men still earning more than women

TCU women earn lower salaries than men of equal status, according to a recent survey of 848 graduating seniors.Of seniors surveyed last year by the Office of Institutional Research, 25 percent were employed full time, and among them, about 13 percent reported earning annual incomes of $80,000 or more, representing the highest income category and one with men only, according to the 2005-2006 Graduating Senior Survey Report.

Women are generally paid less because they choose lower paying occupations, said Cathy Coghlan, who is associate director of institutional research and prepared the document for review by faculty and staff.

“If a majority of women completing the survey are education majors, it makes sense that they would make less because of the occupation they’ve chosen than men from the business school,” Coghlan said. “But a more in-depth analysis would need to be done.”

About 33 percent of surveyed males reported majors in the Business School and 22 percent in the College of Science and Engineering.

Sixty percent of female respondents were evenly distributed within the AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Communication and the College of Nursing and Health Services.

According to the report, employment status does not contribute to the gender differences in salary.

Sociology professor Jean Giles-Sims said women earn less because they fail to negotiate their salaries with employers.

“Research indicates that people who don’t negotiate are thought of as being less capable than those who do,” said Giles-Sims, who teaches the class Men, Women and Society. “Women tend to have lower expectations than men because they don’t have models historically to mentor and inform them of what they can get.”

The gender gap at TCU is similar to a continuing gender gap nationwide. According to the 2005 U.S. Census Report, the mean annual income among women in non-family households was about $12,000 less than that of men.

According to a Dec. 26 The New York Times article, women earn less because they either “consider money a top priority less often than men do,” or they are “faced with most of the burden for taking care of families” and are forced into positions that pay less or nothing at all.

“Women are trained in greater proportions in areas where the starting job salaries are lower,” Giles-Sims said. “Men tend to be concentrated in areas where starting salaries are higher.”

Amanda Furr, a junior pre-business major, said she will apply to the business school next month seeking a degree in finance and accounting. After graduation, she will give more consideration to companies that have implemented programs in which women can take a paid leave of absence to have children and then return to their previous position, Furr said.

“Society values caring professions, such as teacher, social worker or nurse, less than business or engineering professions,” Giles-Sims said.

“Women don’t know they are as valuable as men because they internalize the role that society says they should have,” Giles-Sims said. “They don’t want to be seen as pushy.”

Research shows that on average women earn $1 million less than men for lack of being assertive, she said.

“If a woman in the past didn’t do a good job at her position, that’s the fault of the person who hired her,” Furr said. “It’s important to know that there are women out there who can handle professional life.