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Over three quarters of the highest paid staff at the University of Bristol are male, the results of a Freedom of Information request have found.

A headcount of staff in the ‘Grade M’ pay scale, the highest earning grade of pay, revealed that of the 468 staff members in this category, only 106 of them are female.

The grade of pay for staff members is determined by their job title, with Grade M being for senior professional staff and professors, with salaries starting at £61,431 and rising to over £100,000.

‘The University does not give any help for people lacking in confidence’

Caitlin Flint, President of Bristol Feminist Society said that these figures seem to suggest that there is a gender pay gap at the university due the higher number of men in the top grade of pay.

Bristol SU’s Equality and Liberation Officer, Jamie Cross, said that the lack of females in the top grade of pay is reflective of an ‘attainment issue both within Bristol University specifically but also within the wider Higher Education sector’.

‘Professors and other higher pay grade academic staff are predominantly men and this could be due to the barriers that some women in academia face’, Cross said.

‘A lot of senior professional staff come from academic backgrounds as well so that could be passed on from the problems faced in academia, although those figures are less easy to interpret.’

info gender

In an online Epigram survey about gender differences in tutorial participation, approximately a third of the female respondents claimed to feel ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable’ speaking up in tutorials, compared with about 10 per cent of men.

Whilst the sample size was too small to be representative of the university as a whole, it does correlate with what has been claimed around the country, that women are not as confident as men in academic settings.

The University are ‘acutely aware of the under representation of women in senior academic roles’

One respondent to the survey wrote: ‘The boys certainly speak up more without the worry of whether or not they know anything about the topic at hand. I notice the girls hold back, even when I notice they have immaculate notes and clearly know the answer to the question asked.’

Another respondent said that the ‘university does not give any help for people lacking in confidence’.

However, other respondents were more disparaging about the idea of gender having an effect on contributions to tutorials. One respondent said that they think it is more about self-confidence than gender, whereas another wrote: ‘some of the most prolific in-seminar speakers I know are women.’

A third of female respondents claimed to feel ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable’ speaking up in tutorials

A spokesperson for the University commented that they are ‘acutely aware of the under representation of women in senior academic roles, which is an issue across the sector.’

‘The University has a Gender Action Plan, which covers areas such as career development, recruitment and selection, and implicit bias

‘We constantly monitor the effectiveness of these interventions through the Academic Careers Equality Working Group.’

Flint, President of Bristol Feminist Society, commented: ‘This is not just a problem at UoB, nationally there is a problem with the fact that there are less women high up in academia than men, and in general more men in higher paid positions in the majority of professions.’

‘I would hope that the University is doing what it can to decrease this obvious gender imbalance, and will promote more of our fantastic women to the higher paid levels so as to get rid of this disparity.’


Do you think there is a gender pay gap at the University? Is there anything more that the University can do to counter it? Tweet your views to @EpigramNews

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