created to further gender equity at U.Va.
John T. Casteen III
announced last week the creation of a new University committee,
the Women's Leadership Council, to examine and address matters
involving women in leadership roles, in education and in the University
by the 1999 Task Force on the Status of Women, the new council
will both advise the president and monitor institutional compliance
with a variety of state and University equal opportunity policies.
Members will be appointed this spring, with the task force members
serving on an interim basis until formal appointments are made.
task force was charged with assessing the University's progress
in recent years with regard to women and recommending a plan for
addressing current issues. The group's wide-ranging "Report
on Gender Equity at the University of Virginia" includes
recommendations to place more women in positions of leadership,
to institute mentoring and professional development programs and
to ensure salary equity.
goal is to open a conversation with the whole university, and
especially with its leadership, about the culture of this place
and the experience of people here who may not feel entirely at
home, such as women and people of color," said task force
member and co-director of the Humanities in Medicine program Marcia
Day Childress, adding that the Faculty Senate will host a forum
on gender climate on April 24.
conversation actually began last November, when Provost Peter
W. Low charged the deans with addressing gender issues in their
units. Deans' annual reports and performance reviews will now
include assessment of progress within their respective areas to
improve the gender and racial climate, to insure equal opportunity
in hiring and to retain women and minority faculty once they are
Reflecting the overlap between the history of women's and minorities'
issues at U.Va., President Casteen mentioned the report at the
recent conference on diversity as a example of giving "serious
analytical attention to the mechanics of inclusion (see "Charting
Diversity"). He quoted the report's finding that "gender
inequity in the university setting is subtle yet pervasive, grounded
in socialized, largely unexamined ways of thinking and acting
that are manifested in all of us, women and men, and perpetuated
out of habit and lack of awareness.²
am grateful for the task force's thoughtful and reasonable assessment
of our progress and our needs for continuous improvement,"
he said. "With the formation of the Women's Leadership Council,
we will seek to strengthen opportunities for women - a direction
that ultimately promises a stronger University community for everyone."
report states that the resistant institutional environment for
women at U.Va., described as a "chilly climate," wastes
the talents of women as teachers, leaders and researchers, as
well as discourages women students by providing too few role models
and mentors and by undervaluing women staff by underpaying their
way to improve the climate is to place more women in leadership
positions. The report sets a goal of having the administrative,
faculty and student leadership be as diverse as the population
it serves by the year 2010, stating that women must be more prominent,
in terms of numbers and positions.
our student body now reflects well the rich diversity of the American
population, our faculty and leadership do not," the report
to University statistics, men continue to outnumber women in a
number of areas:
285 administrative positions (that includes, among others, vice
presidents, associate vice presidents and academic deans), 208
are held by men, 77 by women;
1,817 instructional/research positions, 1,327 are held by men,
490 by women. Clerical positions, however, show a different
story. Of 1,808 clerical positions, 158 are held by men and
1,650 by women. The report's recommendations for improving the
gender climate are divided among three areas: leadership, education
and work/life issues. Several suggestions from each area include:
issuing annual reports on U.Va.'s progress toward gender equity;
loaning faculty positions to departments to promote the hiring
of women and minorities; and
requiring vice presidents, deans and department heads to attend
training sessions regarding hiring/retention, salary equity,
sexual harrassment and climate issues.
instituting mentoring programs for women across the University;
offering on- and off-site professional development programs
for women faculty and staff;
resurrecting the Presidential Fellows program and expanding
the Administrative Internship program; and
funding programs and activities that support young women's leadership.
assuring equity in salary and promotional opportunity for all
faculty and staff;
deans and department chairs to develop mechanisms for ensuring
gender equity in salary, climate and representation; and
creating more equitable work/life arrangements by making available
12 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave, improving University-based
day care, and developing strategies for facilitating job placement
for partners of faculty and staff.
full text of the report can be found at http://www.virginia.edu/topnews.