Denver University Law Review
Melissa Hart, Missing the Forest for the Trees: Gender Pay Discrimination in Academia, 91 Denv. U. L. Rev. 873 (2014), available at https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/articles/77.
Women in virtually every job category still make less than men. Academia is no exception. This Article will explore some of the structural explanations for this continued disparity and the continued resistance to seriously confronting those structural barriers to equality. Using the still-unfolding story of a charge of discrimination filed against a university, this Article examines the script that has become all-too-familiar in discussions about the gender pay gap, whether in academia or elsewhere. The basic storyline in pay discrimination litigation is this: Evidence is presented about the existence of a gap between men's earnings and women's earnings. The response is that the numbers cannot be looked at as a group because there are individual explanations for each pay decision. With this move, the focus of attention is shifted from an evaluation of the troubling structural picture to an evaluation of an individual employee. Until we are willing to resist that shift, it will be nearly impossible to address the root causes of continued pay inequity.
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