When I read the headline, I immediately pictured my least favorite teacher in the English department (male) and my most favorite teacher in the English department (female) and fumed at the injustice.
But it’s not that simple. Professors’ salaries are based on a variety of factors–some are negotiated, some have to do with spousal hires. Salaries are based, to varying degrees, on job performance.
All of the graduate students in my department make the same amount of money, and it is awesome. We still have enough insecurities to go around, but at least they aren’t exacerbated by suspected or actual financial disparities.
I wish it were socially acceptable to ask potential colleagues bluntly how much money they make. It seems to me that less secrecy would lead to more fairness. It’s hard to trust the university to look out for our best interests, and it’s hard for us to know if we are being treated justly.