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Locked Out of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Keep Women From Rising to the Top

June 06, 2021

Emma Phillips discusses gender discrimination in the university sector

As part of its Power Gap series, the Globe and Mail looked at the salaries of university professors going back to 1999. It found that, while there has been a significant increase in the overall representation of women, the gender wage gap is actually growing. Moreover, gender inequities continue to have a negative impact on the careers of women academics.

The Globe’s article quotes Emma Phillips, who commented on a grievance the University of Toronto Faculty Association has filed alleging discrimination in pay:

At the University of Toronto – where the school identified a 1.3-per-cent wage gap among tenure and tenure-stream professors – the faculty association has filed a grievance over the issue. It alleges the gap is much higher and that ongoing discrimination is also likely affecting other equity-seeking groups.

Emma Phillips, a labour lawyer at Goldblatt Partners LLP who is representing the association, says the university reached that figure by excusing away many of the factors that harbour deep gender implications, such as rank and promotion.

“I think one of the blind spots universities have is that they believe they are making decisions based purely on merit…and there is an assumption that the measurements of merit are neutral and objective,” Ms. Phillips says. “In fact, there is a very large and robust body of research that shows these measurements – things like citation counts and grant success rates – are in fact tainted by gender bias.”

Read the article here.


Emma Phillips

Practice Areas

Human Rights Law, Labour Law