Member of Florida’s Board of Governors suggests women’s salaries may be lower due to genetics

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) — A member of the Florida’s Board of Governors is in hot water, after making a comment at board meeting in which he seemed to suggest differences in starting salaries between men and women may be genetic and not cultural.

The comment spurred a backlash.

Florida’s Board of Governors was told that statistics show women graduates make less than their male counterparts a year after leaving school.

Board member Ed Morton suggested teaching salary negotiating skills for women, but also said the gap may be genetic. “The women are given, maybe some of it’s genetic, I don’t know. I’m not smart enough to know the difference,” he said.

Morton, who was appointed by Governor Rick Scott, was quickly condemned by the Governor in a statement issued by his press secretary.

“As a father of two daughters, the Governor absolutely does not agree with this statement.”

Morton has since apologized, issuing a statement, but refusing interviews. He says in part “I chose my words poorly. My belief is that women and men should be valued equally in the workplace.”

The controversy comes after legislation failed in the 2017 regular session that attempted to close the wage gap between men and women.

“More women than men graduate from Florida universities, still women’s median starting salaries are $5,500 less than men,” said Jake Stofen.

Dr. Wayne Hochwarter a professor of Organizational Behavior at FSU says the gap is more likely a result of women choosing professions that pay less.

“Whereas you still have a large section of young men who are also in the business school and engineering,” he said.

Hockwarter also says research shows women often times are better prepared and better equipped for situations like negotiating salaries.

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