Female Professors Sue Vassar College, Alleging Wage Discrimination
Five female professors at Vassar College are suing the elite institution in Upstate New York — one of the country’s first colleges to educate women — alleging it engaged in decades of systemic wage discrimination by paying them less than their male colleagues.
The case explores what advocates for pay equity say are widespread disparities in how women are compensated and evaluated for their work in higher education. Through self-reported data, colleges and universities have routinely shown yawning pay gaps between male and female academics. Now, institutions are reckoning with the inequities amid legal action and faculty campaigns for fair wages.
“Vassar isn’t the only educational institution that is suffering from these issues … but what makes this striking is its origins in providing education to women and promoting equity,” said Melvina Ford, an attorney representing the professors and the national legal director at the nonprofit Equal Rights Advocates. “This is part of the college’s mission and values, so it’s important that they correct these pay inequities.”