It seems even researchers are being researched.
Research released last week on universities showed that women academics are far less likely to be promoted to professor than their male colleagues.
Over a career, the difference in pay through not being promoted could buy most of a nice house.
• Research uncovers stark gender pay gap among NZ medical specialists
• Companies should be forced to report on gender pay gap - union
• Shine a light on gender pay gap
• Westpac reveals whopping 30pc gender pay gap
The study showed men are more likely to start at higher grades and women are given more teaching loads, which is often less valued than research. Women may also be expected to do more pastoral care of students, which again is not valued in promotion rounds. However much of the difference in pay and promotions is attributed to discrimination.
Not surprisingly the hallowed halls of our universities show similar patterns to those overseas.
Harvard academic Iris Bonnet has studied her institution and in her recent book, What Works, outlines what her and other universities have put in place to address discrimination against women academics. Some of the examples she cites are more than 20 years old. So, we are not alone, but we are lagging behind, well, well behind.
Having had the privilege of working with leaders determined to address their negative diversity statistics and the consistent feedback they receive from their staff about discrimination, there are actions that work. But they are hard.
Institutional sexism, racism and inequality are woven into these organisations' DNA and it takes a lot of effort to unravel it.
Giacomo Lichtner: Lessons from the liberation of Auschwitz
Chas Keys: Jacinda Ardern and the Australian hate machine
What works is starting with good data about what is actually happening in your organisation. This includes the usual HR statistics such as gender and ethnic pay gaps and analysis of who gets promoted and how long it takes, and whose applications are successful or not. It should also include an analysis of who gets on to short lists, and who doesn't.
Then the data gathering needs to move the next level, like looking at who gets funding and opportunities such as travel, conferences, presenting to the board. Like an audit of work allocation: who gets stuck with the crappy, low valued jobs?
Based on this data, what works is developing a strategy; not one that looks fancy and sits on a shelf. More like an action plan, where lots of little steps expected of lots of people add up to a momentum for change.
Included in this could be regular public reporting by department. Then we can all see how well everyone is doing and who is making progress or not. The University of Auckland has taken the lead on equity reporting and annually shares their dirty laundry, so to speak.
Also included in the action plan should be work to identify and remove in-built biases. Biases can, for example, include a focus on volume. But by measuring productivity in terms of what is produced in the time available, institutions are less likely to disadvantage those who take career breaks or work part time.
Actions should also look to tackle the behaviours of those who feel entitled to the status quo. If you have always worked in an environment where you have had advantages, whether you realised it or not, it can come as a shock when such privileges are challenged and unpicked.
Unfortunately our universities will have had to address bullying and harassment within their ranks, as have many other organisations across the country. But I am not convinced the answer is more research.
I am convinced that the answer is consistent investment over a sustained period of time in actions that create workplaces that treat all their staff well.
Universities can led the way in creating inclusive workplaces but will not do so by clinging to the past.
• Jo Cribb is the previous chief executive of the Ministry for Women and now works with organisations to address diversity issues.