Universities break equality laws by paying women less than men

Most universities are breaking the law by failing to pay women the same as men for work of equal value, says a survey published today.

Research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that women are being paid up to £8,000 less than men doing the same jobs in the same subjects.

The survey, carried out for the college lecturers' union Natfhe, provides the first firm evidence that women are being discriminated against at all grades and in almost all subjects. Earlier research revealed the big gaps between women's pay at different universities.

Anatomy and physiology is the worst offender with an £8,000 difference in male and female professors' pay. Next comes veterinary science with a £7,000 gap. Subjects with the biggest pay gaps at all grades are clinical and veterinary sciences, physics, chemistry and engineering.

Even in subjects with a comparatively high proportion of women, there is a big difference between male and female pay. In business and management studies, design and creative arts and continuing education it is more than £2,000.

In nursing, where 70 per cent of lecturers are women, male lecturers earn £1,558 more than women lecturers. In only two subjects, nursing and paramedical studies and architecture, do women professors earn more.

There are no female civil engineering professors in Britain and fewer than five women professors in pharmacy, chemistry, physics and dentistry.

The union said women were being appointed at lower points on the pay scale than men and stood much less chance of promotion. Tom Wilson, head of the union's universities department, said: "The research destroys the myth that unequal pay can be somehow explained away. The figures prove that women are paid less than the men they work alongside."

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