- Two lawsuits against Boston Public Schools, filed in late November by women working as administrators in the school system's central offices, allege a hostile working environment and a pay disparity between male and female employees, The Boston Globe reported.
- While they worked in the Office of English Language Learners, two women claim their $107,000 annual salaries were 30% lower than their male counterparts with similar roles. The Globe reported that one of these women was later promoted, but officials wouldn't pay her the correct salary for months, despite oral and written complaints about gender-based pay disparities.
- The other lawsuit features a 19-year veteran of the Boston school system who claims she was one of multiple women treated badly by their boss, who retaliated against her and led her to take a leave of absence.
In classrooms ranging from K-12, a vast majority of teachers are women. Even so, men are more likely to have leadership roles in education. And based on the fact that men can get to leadership positions, including principal, faster than women can, it's clear that gender equality hasn't yet been fully achieved.
The Boston Public Schools lawsuits touch on a problem that's an issue in the working world — and not just in education. The Pew Research Center attributes the pay gap discrepancy to factors including educational attainment, occupational segregation and work experience, but notes that there are other factors, like gender discrimination, that are hard to measure but that are likely part of the problem as well.
For instance, school boards have maintained biases about women's managerial competency or their emotional capacity to run a district. As a result, fewer women get to be superintendents and the effects trickle down to employees in lower ranks.
In ongoing diversity discussions schools are having about hiring more faculty of color, schools should also consider the diversity of those promoted to higher positions. And in being mindful of issues like teacher hiring and retention, school leaders should consider actions that will help attract people to the educational field, such as making women's salaries equal to those of their male peers.