equity remains elusive at the University, panelists agree
the work of task forces, committees and the issuance of several
reports over the years, "gender equity is not yet a reality
at the University," according to the most
recent report, which was the focus of a well-attended panel
discussion held April 24 in the Rotunda Dome Room.
administrative structures and academic curriculum still reflect
an educational tradition established for and by men," stated
the report, prepared by the 1999 Task Force on the Status of Women
and submitted to President John T. Casteen III in August.
system that requires an up-or-out [tenure] decision at six
years, when women are at the height of their child-bearing
years, is barbaric."
medical director of the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation
and many in the standing-room-only audience agreed. Some zeroed
in on the "tenure clock" as a prime example.
junior faculty members have six years to establish their credentials
for receiving tenure -- a period that coincides with the time
that many of them are marrying and starting families. And while
they may request to pause the tenure clock for a year or two,
that is still an exception that must be applied for, noted panelist
and associate history professor Cindy Aron.
The six-year clock no longer reflects today's faculty, in which
both women and men often must choose between nurturing their professional
or family lives, panelists said.
"Any system that requires an up-or-out decision at six years,
when women are at the height of their child-bearing years, is
barbaric," declared panelist Dr. Sharon Hostler, medical
director of the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center and McLemore
Birdsong Professor of Pediatrics.
School dean Carl P. Zeithaml, also on the panel, agreed. "I
absolutely believe that the tenure clock is not only too short
for women, it is too short for men," he said.
area of concern is finding positions for the spouses of faculty
and administrative hires, some speakers noted. Zeithaml said that
two women declined faculty positions in the Commerce School last
year because there was no employment available for their spouses.
Glenna Chang, an assistant dean of students, said the University
too often values students who work too much and sleep too little,
a comment that others later said applied to its employees as well.
"We often undervalue students who are leading balanced lives,"
said Chang, who added that many of them are women and minorities.
panelists echoed the report's call for more women in leadership
positions. The report noted that as of the fall of 1998, seven
of nine vice presidents, nine of 10 associate vice presidents,
and four of six assistant vice presidents were men. At the departmental
level, 62 of 70 chairs were men. Of 285 identified leadership
positions, 208 -- or 73 percent -- were held by men.
"Having more women in administrative and leadership positions
is important," said Sondra Stallard, dean of the School of
Continuing and Professional Studies, "but I am concerned
with the women at the other end of the scale."
noted that 59 percent of the University's workforce is female,
but only 13 percent of those are labeled as either executive/administrative/managerial
or instructional or research faculty. Roughly half are in lower-earning
positions, like housekeeping and administrative support. Women
hold approximately 60 percent of the service positions, she noted.
there has been some progress made in helping classified employees
advance -- Stallard noted training available through Organizational
Development and Training, apprenticeship programs in Facilities
Management, and the new adult degree program offered by her school
-- many women find themselves unable to take advantage of those
opportunities, she said.
supervisors are unwilling to release their employees for educational
opportunities, she said, and many women are forced to take on
second and third jobs to make ends meet and thus cannot attend
classes held after hours.
and audience members expressed frustration that many concerns
had been identified for years, but had not yet been addressed.
The 1999 report included an item-by-item status report on recommendations
made in a similar 1988 report, most of which have been only partially
satisfied. A 1992 salary equity study was never released, Aron
am very tired of seeing reports disappear into smoke, only to
be resurrected in time to write another report that will disappear
into smoke," Stallard said.
new Women's Leadership Council will monitor implementation of
the 1999 report's findings and bring gender issues to the concern
of the Cabinet. In addition, Karen Holt, director of the Office
of Equal Opportunity Programs, said she intends to continue to
push equity concerns. "I don't shy away from the responsibility
most speakers agreed that the entire burden of sustaining these
issues cannot be borne by women alone, or leaders alone. Speakers
from the audience stressed that accepting the ethos of gender
inclusiveness and equity must be a priority throughout the Grounds,
not just in board rooms and offices.
is not women's work," Hostler declared. "This is the
work of the University."