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A step foward for equity

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Earlier this month we took another important step forward for equity at the University of Waterloo.

Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 by

Earlier this month we took another important step forward for equity at the University of Waterloo. I want to close the loop with our campus community on this important issue.

As part of the university’s last faculty salary settlement, reached a little over a year ago, the University of Waterloo and our Faculty Association worked together on a review of faculty pay equity at the university. This is a best practice in our sector and in many large, progressive organizations.

On August 3, the working group — co-led by Ian Orchard, our provost, and Sally Gunz, president of our faculty association — connected with all UWaterloo faculty via email to provide an update on their important work. The committee undertook a rigorous analysis of pay equity at the university to discover any instances or structural issues with faculty salaries. As a result, the university announced a $2,905 pay increase for  all female faculty.

(If you haven’t seen all the information yet, you can access the full documentation, including research methodology, at the provost’s website.)

I want to thank the committee – comprised of outstanding faculty members and university administrators – not only for their solid findings and recommendations, but also for modeling a remarkable level of collegiality, collaboration, good faith, and professionalism.

I also want to take a moment, now that the committee’s outcomes have been reported to faculty, to underline the importance of equity — in all its forms — to UWaterloo.

I’ve received lots of positive messages about this salary adjustment, both from within the university and from the outside. And I’ve also heard the concerns out there, which I validate and share. It’s disappointing that such a pay gap between men and women would exist in any organization, let alone the University of Waterloo, which is increasingly known around the world for our leadership on tackling equity issues.

I think Canada’s Minister of Science, Hon. Kirsty Duncan, summed up the mixed feelings best:

 Way to go @UWaterloo! Unfortunate that gap persists, but happy to see leadership in addressing it.

Here’s the article the minister referred to in her tweet.

To everyone who shares in that same mix of pride and concern, I hear you. It’s not ok for any progressive organization to tolerate a gender pay gap. That’s why we’ve addressed it head on. We are going to keep breaking down these and other barriers to gender equity in the months and years to come. On pay equity specifically, Waterloo will remain focused on understanding and addressing the intricate factors influencing pay inequity, while working together with our stakeholders to enhance our processes and share our outcomes, achievements, and challenges in an open and transparent way.  We will also listen and learn from the many other organizations who are working on these priorities. That is our commitment.

Email me at president@uwaterloo.ca with any further thoughts or feedback you have on this — I always value hearing from our community on such important issues. I invite you to send your thoughts as well to Diana Parry, my special advisor on women’s and gender issues, and to Mahejabeen Ebrahim, our director of equity. You can find them at dcparry@uwaterloo.ca and mahejabeen.ebrahim@uwaterloo.ca.

And thanks again to the committee who produced this good work — it’s a vital contribution to the university and an important step forward for equity.

Source: A Step Foward for Equity, blog post by President Feridun Hamdullahpur.

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