The Persistence of Separate and Unequal:

Debunking Myths of the Market in Bargaining for Faculty Gender Salary Equity


For over a century, feminists have challenged occupational gender segregation as a mechanism to rationalize the devaluing of work assigned to women. The social movement momentum in the second half of the twentieth century helped narrow gender pay gaps both within and across occupations. Recently, apologists for gender discrimination have gained ground in obfuscating the role of gender segregation in reproducing salary inequity, pointing to a black box of “market forces” that presumably account for the devaluing of feminized fields, inside and outside of higher education. In this article, we address the state of available national faculty salary data in higher education, and examine three market-based myths for the persistence of gender salary disparities to assist the important work of bargaining for gender salary equity within and also across academic disciplines. We conclude with recommendations for constructing effective negotiations that advance the mutual interests of labor and management.

Keywords: gender wage gap; faculty salary inequity; occupational gender segregation; internal occupational segregation; bargaining salary equity

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