A high education official in Florida attributed the wage gaps to genetics.
A male official tasked with overseeing Florida’s public universities suggested women make less money than men because their genetics may rob them of the ability to negotiate higher salaries.
The wage gap was being discussed at the state university system’s board of governors meeting Tuesday when Ed Morton, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, placed the blame on biology, Politico reported.
“Something that we’re doing in Naples (with) some of our high school students, we’re acutally talking about incorporating negotiating and negotiating skill into the curriculum so that the women are given — maybe some of it’s genetic, I don’t know, I’m not smart enough to know the difference — but I do know that negotiating skills can be something that can be honed, and they can improve,” said Morton, the chair of the board’s strategic planning meeting.
The board had been reviewing new data detailing the pursuits of Florida students after they graduate, with the majority of the class of 2015 seeking full-time work or pursuing higher education.
florid Gov. Rick Perry appointed Ed Morton, a retired investment manager to the State University System’s Board of Governors.
The report estimated a median salary of $39,100 for full-time workers one year after graduation — though female and black students earned seemingly less than their male and white peers.
According to the report, women earned around $5,500 less than their male counterparts, while African-American students earned the lowest median wage at $35,600.
Florida’s governor quickly denounced Morton’s controversial commentary.
“As a father of two daughters, the Governor absolutely does not agree with this statement,” Scott’s spokeswoman, Lauren Schenone, said in a statement to Politico.
Gwen Graham, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, tweeted her response Tuesday night: “When I sat at the negotiation table, nothing about my gender or genetics held me back. THIS is why we need more women in state government.”
Morton apologized for his remarks in an email to board members after the meeting, the Washington Post reported.
“I chose my words poorly,” he said. “My belief is that women and men should be valued equally in the workplace.”