In a move to counter against gender-based pay inequality among universities in the U.K., the University of Essex announced that it would give its female professors a one-off wage increment.

The university said its female professors would be moved up three new pay levels, bringing their average salaries to the same level as their male counterparts.

The decision was made following a two-day strike by university workers over the issue, which took place at the end of May.

University of Essex vice-chancellor Anthony Forster said previous steps aimed at improving women’s chances for promotion had failed to close the pay gap at professorial level.

“Treating our staff with equal respect and dignity is at the very core of our values as a diverse and inclusive community.

“This decision ensures we reward people in a fair way, based upon their contribution to our community, regardless of their personal characteristics,” he said, as quoted by the BBC.

The prevalence of the pay gap in the higher education sector has been widely covered since Times Higher Education published an analysis of official pay data last month, showing that full-time female academics are generally paid around 11 percent less than men.

In a report published in March, entitled “Holding Down Women’s Pay”, the University and College Union (UCU) also found that nearly two-thirds (132 out of 203) of English further education colleges that participated in the survey pay female staff significantly less than men who are doing the same job.

The report stated that at college level, female lecturers are paid an average of £1,000 (US$1,460) less than male lecturers, while at university level, female academics earn an average of £6,103 (US$8,900) less annually.

Image via Flickr.

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