A British university has introduced plans to eliminate the gap in pay between male and female staff, which is being hailed as a landmark agreement for the higher education sector.
The University of Bristol has been working with its local trade union branch (University College Union (UCU)) to find ways to reduce the gap as soon as possible. Following 18 months of negotiations, the two groups have agreed a number of measures, including increased opportunities for women to progress their careers at the university and more opportunities to job share and work flexibly.
The pay gap between men and women at the university stands at 13.6%, which is below the national average of 15.1% in British universities.
UCU has argued that one of the biggest factors in tackling the pay gap at the university would be improving career advancement for women, since more female staff were employed in research-only and teaching-focussed roles, which often have less opportunities to progress.
Vice-president of Bristol UCU Suzy Cheeke said:
This landmark agreement shows what can be achieved when universities work with us to tackle a problem head on. We now have a series of measures in place to deliver real positive change for women at the University of Bristol.
UCU hopes that other universities will follow the example of of Bristol, especially at a time when there are disagreements in higher education about pensions, pay and conditions. The union claims that tackling inequality is one of the key elements of these disputes, and with a large university like Bristol taking action, it could result in the gender pay gap being addressed more quickly in the sector.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bristol, Professor Judith Squires, said:
The University of Bristol and UCU have been working together on this issue since 2018 and have made real progress since then with new initiatives to support women’s career development and a new academic promotions framework.