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How do women employees stack up at Ohio State?

Photo illustration by Jon McAllister.

Photo illustration by Jon McAllister.

Despite university diversity initiatives, the presence of female leaders — especially women of color — remains low.

Hazel Morrow-Jones, director of The Women’s Place, associate provost for Women’s Policy Initiatives and a professor of city and regional planning at OSU, said she is pleased that the portion of female faculty has continuously improved since The Women’s Place started 15 years ago.

The Women’s Place is an office at OSU that “serves as a catalyst for institutional change to expand opportunities for women’s growth, leadership and power in an inclusive, supportive and safe university environment,” according to its website.

But it seems there is still work to be done.

Female faculty are most prevalent in lower-level positions within in the university, Morrow-Jones said.

Referencing The Women’s Place’s “2014-15 Status Report on Women at Ohio State,” a report on the status of women to show the progress in OSU’s gender equity, Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, an assistant professor of sociology with a focus in gender inequality who teaches at OSU-Marion, said the roles women occupy at OSU are consistent with trends seen nationally.

“Many of the patterns in the report are illustrative of larger patterns in workplaces across the country,” Bobbitt-Zeher said in an email.

For example, the portion of female assistant professors (48 percent) is closer to being equal than the portion of female full professors (25 percent). This follows national trends because higher status, higher paid jobs are predominantly held by men, Bobbitt-Zeher said.

There are some external reasons for those trends.

Molly Cooper, a senior lecturer who teaches a course in the economics of gender in labor markets, said the responsibility of taking care of children or aging parents is usually taken on by women, so women are more likely to work less hours than men.

“In fact, one very recent (study) shows that women under 30, living in urban areas who have never had a child make more than their male counterparts. The overall gender gap has really become a ‘Mommy Gap,’” Cooper said.

At least one student said she wasn’t happy to see the figures in the OSU status report.

“It is really frustrating to see these numbers,” said Taylor Price, a third-year in environmental engineering and president of the OSU chapter of the American Association of University Women.

Price added that she was surprised a large institution like OSU doesn’t have more equality in its workforce.

“Their records are public. Everybody can see this, so you would think they would be kind of more accountable,” she said. “I just think equality is something that we need to strive for, and it’s difficult, and it’s a struggle, and it’s especially frustrating that it has to be so difficult because it’s a difference in gender — it’s not a different species.”


Leadership concerns

Deans and department chairs are two areas that Morrow-Jones said she thinks need improvement as far as women leadership is concerned. Women account for 30 percent of deans and 16 percent of named chairs, according to the report.

“Department chairs are so important because they really create the climate for everybody in an academic department — so the faculty, the staff and the students. So, if the person who is in charge of the department, the department chair or the school director, is really aware and on top of these kinds of (diversity) issues, then they make the place welcoming for everybody,” Morrow-Jones said.

Price said that while she understands the difficulty in cultivating women leaders, the situation is discouraging to see as a student.

“It definitely doesn’t spark my interest to go into higher education,” she said.


Women of color

Since 1999, there has been a 0.1 percent increase in the proportion of black women faculty at OSU, according to the 2014-15 status report.

The under-representation of black people at universities — both men and women­ — might be a national problem, though. Black people who held full-time faculty positions accounted for 4.2 percent of the faculty population in higher education in 1981 and increased to 5.6 percent in 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“At this rate of improvement, it will take more than 180 years for the black faculty percentage to reach parity with the black percentage of the U.S. population,” according to “Recruiting the Next Generation of the Professoriate,” a Peer Review article from 2010.

Asian-American women make up 4.9 percent of total faculty at OSU — a 3.5 percent increase since 1999, according to the 2014-15 status report. Hispanic women saw a 1.1 percent increase during those years, making up 1.4 percent of total faculty.

American Indian and Hawaiian women each make up 0.1 percent of total OSU faculty, and women of two or more races account for 0.3 percent, according to the report.

Two women of color held two of the total 21 provost positions in 2014, according to the status report.


Salaries by gender

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The average salary of an OSU male employee was $79,693.93 and the average salary of an OSU female employee was $59,396.02, according to data provided by OSU’s public records office that contained regular, non-student employees with 50 percent or more full-time equivalents as of late 2014.

The typical gender pay gap is widely reported as women making 77 or 78 percent of what men earn. According to the numbers above, the OSU statistic would be about 74.5 percent.

Because this is close to the national statistic, Bobbitt-Zeher said she is not surprised by the numbers.

“One of the dominant explanations of the gender income gap is that men and women tend to work in different occupations and the ones women tend to work in are paid less than the ones men tend to work in,” she said.

Cooper, the economics senior lecturer, said in an email that the reason for the lower percentage might be because the data does not include employees with less than 50 percent full-time equivalent, which is the ratio of the number of paid hours to the number of working hours in a set period.

Personally, Cooper said she has two children and finds her job as an instructor to be “very compatible with raising children.” When she finished her Ph.D., she had one 9-month-old child and one child who was just turning 4 years old.

“The publishing requirements of a tenure track position was not something I felt I could take on at that time, and I have found this position to be what is best for me and my family,” she said.

Cooper said she thinks OSU has good programs to support women with children, such as an on-site child care center and summer camps for school aged children.

“They should continue to find ways to assist working parents, especially mothers, pursue the careers that best meet the needs of their families,” she said.

During Morrow-Jones’s time with The Women’s Place, she said she has seen a shift in views, but now it’s time to make a change to the system.

“When I first came in here, there was more of a sense of women need to change. Women need to learn how to do x or y or z, how to negotiate, how to do this. And there’s still some of that, and, you know, everybody can always learn. That’s fine. But the sense that I have now is there’s plenty of women out there that are absolutely ready,” she said.

“Now it’s not a question of there aren’t any women to do this. Now it’s a question of, ‘How do we fix your selection processes, because you’re not picking the women who are there to do it?’”

This is the first of a two-part series on gender at Ohio State. The second part will look at the initiatives in place to promote diverse faculty and leaders and cultivate a positive environment for those individuals.


  1. It’s interesting that the people who are so inclined to strive for political correctness, “diversity”, and similar such ideas are the first ones to see people as being members of a certain race or gender rather than individuals who are judged on the CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER alone. It’s obvious that when the author of this article sees a woman of African decent, the first thing he thinks is ” black woman”. This is the great hypocracy of the diversity movement that so many people, especially at universities, are afraid to realize. In addition, I also find it very interesting that nobody seems to be fighting for “equality” in jobs such as waste collectors, ice road truck drivers, lumberjacks, and other such dangerous jobs that are completely dominated by men. On top of all this, the very notion that women are paid less than men for the same work is based on misleading data that doesn’t take into account the facts that many more women work part time, seek fewer promotions, take more leave from work, etc. When you look at the real, balanced data for job pay the fact is that women earn just as much in most occupations as men and in some cases actually earn more!

    The lantern continues to churn out garbage article after garbage article and its embarrassing.

  2. I agree with Steven A. This is nonsense. This does a disservice to women to play this race card, some people try to get something for nothing.

  3. Well written article, Lantern. Definitely makes me want to delve further and not only think deeper, but research more robustly the concept as a whole. The issues involved are many, some implicit and some concrete: women’s expectations of themselves and, in cases where applicable, women’s expectations of their spouses; employers’ expectations of their personnel and employers’ ability to release conventional thought and force forward with untried but promising concepts. I have heard it said that women faculty do not ask for promotions or higher pay or negotiate summer salary. I think if an employer is committed to forging a greater equality, perhaps an employer is then willing to take the financial burden and present to its female faculty hires that such negotiations are available. While not ideal, it is a step toward strengthening future generations of women to hold hire expectations; it is a sowing of the seeds. And concomitantly, we as a society need to recalibrate our response to strong women. It is not a secret that we label strong women in a negative light, unlike how we label strong men. It is a universal relearning.

    Again, Alex Drummer, I found your article to be exceptionally well written and effectively presented.

  4. After the Britt McHenry degrading video I’m PROUD my J School grad and record holding former student athlete didn’t act like this when her BFs car was towed!!! That is because of her GREAT parenting and buckeye education so I’m HAPPY (no racial OSU issues as far as I’m concerned)!!! Signed blue collar parent!!!

  5. Actually Steven A. if you look at the actual salaries of the women in University Advancement you will see that the salaries for the exact same job are less for women! This is just one area of the university but I assure you if you do the research you will see for yourself that not only are men paid substantially more for similar positions you will see that that often men with lesser experience are often paid $20-$30K more. I am speaking from personal experience. I can also tell you that in University Development now Advancement this has been an issue since the 1980’s when a group of women successfully sued the university and won. It was a hollow victory because no changes were instituted and the women that were a part of the complaint were not compensated. To add insult to injury most of these women were never promoted again. If the writer of this article would like to do a real investigation into salaries at OSU I think you will find it very eye opening.

  6. I wonder why comments from the director of The Men’s Place, and the associate provost for Men’s Policy Initiatives, were not included in the article. What? Huh? There are no such positions or offices? Now THAT is what you call overt institutional sexism.

  7. I’m a male employee at OSU, and I make less than the average salaries for both men and women. I have come to the realization that I am not inhibited by my race, gender, socio-economic background, or other trait–I am simply a loser.

  8. Hey Lantern, fix your wage scales! You need to separate those scales by CCS staff, Faculty, and Administration. As a full time CCS employee (and a white male for reference) I make about half of your so-called average wages for a female staff member. I think maybe our most senior employees in my department (regardless of gender, 25+ years of service) might be close to that average pay for women that you have listed.

    Your erroneous reporting makes all OSU employees look highly overpaid when in fact many OSU employees are struggling to get by, and often have to choose which bills to forego. Shame on you.

  9. That scale is full of crap data. I’m gonna take a wild guess and sat thathat statistical outliers, such as Urban Meyer, were included in those averages.

    Also, I like how people just ignore the ‘mommy gap’. Women who put as much into their career as an average male will make just as much money. Its typically the woman that “works” less and instead takes on more of a role raising the kids and caring for older family, yet they act like they should have the same salary for not working the same amount? Get out of here with this Sarah Silverman level stupidity.

  10. I feel like every negative comment is Dan Hedman LOLZ

  11. This article is very flawed. I’m sorry, you can’t make judgements like this when Urban makes nearly 5 million. I doubt that anyone compensated for his salary or for thad matta’s 3.2 million. Id guess that both males and females are closer 50k if you took out the coaches salaries.

  12. Research is hard

    Actual data on why perceived pay gaps exist (without hyperbole or sensationalizm): http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/332fu5/til_the_23_gender_pay_gap_is_the_difference/

  13. Another brilliant Lantern article filled with fallacies, garbage statistics and graphs.

    Oh, and this quote from Taylor Price on the percent of women in leadership roles at OSU being so low:

    “It definitely doesn’t spark my interest to go into higher education.”

    I think you just addressed the problem right there, sister!

  14. The article seems to completely ignore the recent nationwide study that shows 2:1 preference for women in hiring at universities:


    I already emailed back and forth with Women’s Place about the absence of a Men’s Place, all I heard was “the campus can feel like a male dominated environment” etc etc. When I mentioned 58% of students were female and the men who were expelled from campus due to sexual assault allegations my comment was completely brushed aside in their reply.

    More sexist and racist drivel from The Lantern filled with false statistics. Exactly what you expect from them.

  15. The university does a great job of trying to accommodate for women. If you’re a woman and can’t get ahead at osu, you just arent good enough.

    The value of a person shouldn’t be determined by their salary anyhow.

  16. Alex did a good job writing the article but she has clearly been fed misleading information. I wonder what classes she is taking this semester….

  17. Here’s the sad part…
    This newspaper gets published and circulated all throughout the OSU campus. There is no comment section in a print newspaper, no opposing viewpoint, no recourse. You can tell by these comments that the real majority of people out there don’t think along the lines of the lantern yet there is zero accountability. The university continues to suck up our tax dollars while simultaneously indoctrinating our children to think as they do: Hard work and achievement shall be punished unless you’re part of the protected class (anything other than a white male). Does anyone honestly think our comments or concerns will be voiced in future publications? I for one doubt it. We will all be written off as “trolls” or “haters” in the minds of the writers and editors as they continue to cover their ears and sing la la la on their way to the next reckless article… All in the name of the “cause” (aka the divisive socialist agenda that our state funded universities so adore). Carry on lantern carry on.

  18. Men do jobs in oil drilling, construction, mining, combat, truck driver, heavy machinery. Guess what? Men are 90% more likely to die on the job then women. This is a war on men! End the killing of men through our work. More female deep sea divers and forewomen. Fair share. End the male oppression

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