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Gender equity gaining ground

Gender equity gaining ground

In April, following a five-year hiatus, Statistics Canada published initial data from its annual survey of academic staff showing that women represent a growing proportion of the teaching staff in post-secondary institutions across the country.

According to the University and College Academic Staff System, women accounted for 40.2 per cent of full-time academic staff in universities and colleges in 2016–2017, up from 37.6 per cent in 2010–2011.

The surge is mainly explained by an increase observed in the number of women in higher-level positions, such as full professor (+31.4 per cent) and associate professor (+21.7 per cent). The survey also noted that the number of women in assistant professor positions decreased by 14.5 per cent and in lower-level positions by 2 per cent.

The preliminary data released by Statistics Canada captures the number and salaries of full-time academic staff in 75 of the 122 universities across the country that participated in the survey. Overall, the number of full-time university academic staff grew by 2.9 per cent over five years, with a 12.4 per cent increase in the number of full professors and an 8.8 per cent increase among associate professors.

The median salary of academic staff also saw an increase from 2011 to 2016. According to Statistics Canada, the median salary (in constant dollars) of full-time academic staff rose from $92,093 to $98,400 between 2011 and 2016, representing a 6.8 per cent increase. More specifically, the median salary was $124,325 for full professors, $97,423 for associate professors, $77,169 for assistant professors and $71,060 for lower-level to assistant-professor positions.

According to Statistics Canada, the median age of university academic staff has essentially remained stable at 51 years throughout the 75 institutions that participated in the survey, compared to 50 in 2010­–2011. In 2016–2017, the median age of assistant professors was 40, compared to 49 for associate professors and 58 for full professors.

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