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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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Second women’s status report released


The University Commission on Women released the second edition of “The Status of Women” report Wednesday, with the first copy sent to UH President Renu Khator.

The report highlights how female administrators, faculty, staff and students are fairing at the University of Houston. In 1999, President Arthur Smith appointed the commission to explore the status of women in response to a harassment lawsuit, said associate professor of sociology and author Amanda Baumle.

“The UCW addresses issues dealing with faculty advancement for women, professional development issues for staff, child care on campus and policies that affect women on campus,” Baumle said.

For instance, the average salaries for tenure and tenure track faculty members are $89,250 for females and $109,566 for males. 60 percent of the staff members are female, with most working in administrative or student services, the report says.

In 2010, 50.1 percent of the students were female, and they also outnumbered men in the number of degrees earned — 3,839 compared to the 3,391 degrees awarded to males, the report says.

As a result of the first report, the UH community found it helpful in increasing awareness about gender disparities in leadership and salaries. However, it did not galvanize the campus community into action, said Director of the Women’s Resource Center Beverly McPhail.

“Today there seems to be greater momentum and a critical mass around gender issues with the recent submission of the ADVANCE grant to the National Science Foundation,” McPhail said.

“(The momentum comes from) the work of deans and chairs, such as the dean of engineering, Dean Tedesco and the physics chair Dr. Pinsky, to recruit and retain women, and the committed action of many women on campus — from the able leadership of President Khator to the work of the UCW.”

Reports like this are essential in pointing out where the gaps are in order to provide a blueprint to move forward. There are many ways the UH community can help and take action, McPhail said.

“Students, staff and faculty can read the report and share it with others. Students can ask their deans to make sure women are included as qualified candidates by all faculty search committees,” McPhail said.

“Professors can mentor female students, especially in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Students can attend more UH women’s athletic events and support increased funding for their coaches.”

The report is now available online at both the UCW website, www.uh.edu/ucw and the Women’s Resource Center website, www.uh.edu/wrc.

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