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Royal Holloway Principle Faces Backlash Over Gender Pay Gap

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Professor Paul Layzell, the Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London has defended the institution's gender pay gap, arguing women are less likely to put themselves up for promotion.

Professor Layzell insisted the university has a "transparent and fair pay system", after it was revealed the institution has a 10% gender pay gap for full-time professors.

At an open staff meeting last year, the head of Royal Holloway said: "There are certain protected groups where there is a natural tendency to not have a go and put themselves in for promotion - sometimes that's gender, sometimes it's the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) group".

Professor Layzell is now facing a backlash over the comments after they were published by the student magazine Orbital.

In response, hundreds of alumni have signed an open letter arguing the comments lacked understanding and sensitivity.

The open letter added: "It has been hugely disappointing to discover that Royal Holloway has one of the worst professorial gender pay gaps in the country."

"This disappointment has been compounded by your response in which you blamed women rather than institutional sexism for this gap. You then went on to make comments which implied that you felt women were more suited to teaching than research."

A RHUL spokesman said the comments at the meeting were taken out of context and that on a number of occasions Professor Layzell has stressed his determination to tackle the gender pay gap.