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Group to Target Alleged UCI Sex Bias in Jobs

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

UC Irvine faculty members, frustrated by what they say is their school’s “deplorable record of sex discrimination,” will gather at UCI’s Woman’s Studies Center today to announce the creation of a group that will push for reforms in the hiring and promotion of women.

The group, known as WAGE, We Advocate Gender Equity, includes faculty members, students and community members.

“We’ve tried to work within the system,” said WAGE’s spokeswoman, Dr. Phyllis Agran, an associate professor of pediatrics at UCI’s College of Medicine. “I’ve been to committee meeting after committee meeting during my 12 years here, and the status quo has been maintained. We don’t want any more studies, we want concrete action.”

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The group’s formation follows the release of a study in December that reported women were seriously underrepresented on the medical college’s faculty.

The study, conducted by a task force on the status of women at the medical college, found that women made up only 10% of the faculty, in contrast with the national average of 25% at other medical schools.

Female faculty members also were less likely to be promoted into tenure-track positions, the study reported. Of the 15 faculty members who were promoted to tenured positions from 1987-1991, none was a women.

Since 1991, the College of Medicine has promoted four women to tenure-track positions.

Unequal compensation also is a major issue. According to statistics in the study, female faculty members were sometimes paid as much as $16,000 less per year than their male counterparts.

“We need to see the total compensation package, not just the salary differentials,” Agran said.

Getting the information has been difficult, Agran said.

Dr. Hoda Anton-Culver, an associate professor of epidemiology at UCI and one of the authors of the study, disputed Agran’s claim that information was being withheld.

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“I have yet to see a single question posed by anybody that we did not respond to,” Anton-Culver said.

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