Friday, February 20, 2009

Forty Years of Change

We recently put together a graph of changes that have occurred in the past forty years for women across a number of indicators, such as women with college degrees and women in the labor force. [View Graph]
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Project CEOS at Ohio State

Project CEOS - Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State - is a National Science Foundation-funded project aimed at increasing the representation and advancement of women in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The focus is on workplace transformation - changing the characteristics of our institutional culture that make it more difficult for women to stay on the job and advance their careers.

The project differs from many other gender equity projects with its focus on retention and advancement - not on recruitment (although it may make it easier to recruit women and minorities to the university). This focus acknowledges what most women know to be true - that the problem isn't getting women into the pipeline, it's about making it possible for women (and men) to move through the pipeline while juggling the demands of life outside of work.

Joan Herbers, former dean of the College of Biological Science at OSU, is the principal investigator for the project (that's PI in research project lingo) and leads a team of co-investigators and project managers who represent seven collegs and schools at OSU. The colleges participating in the first phase of the project are: initially: Biological, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Veterinary Medicine.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Watch for South African Views

Over the next several weeks, our blog for the Institute on Women will feature updates from Nadia Auch, who has served as the project manager for OSU's 65th Anniversary Celebration for our International Studies program. Nadia has agreed to share her adventures with us - watch this space for her updates.

I will take part in a delegation of five women from Central Ohio who will embark on a 3 week visit through South Africa. The objective will be to show "advanced private viewings" of a documentary film directed and produced by Janet Parrott, professor in the Department of Theatre at the Ohio State University and executive producer and hospice volunteer Cathe Kobacker. The film is entitled,
Song of the Soul: Stories of Hospice in South Africa, and the aim is to share the fim with the participants of the documentary in South African.

The theme of the the documentary is how women are mobilizing to care for the HIV/AIDS dying. The documentary visits hospice care organizations throughout the country and films the women in action who are taking charge to care for their communities.

As a first timer to South Africa, I have also reached out to women's organizations and microbicides organizations and I intend to explore and learn from the work they are doing.

My travels will begin when I arrive on February 17th 2009.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Bottom Line

I was sifting through articles on women's leadership development today and a paragraph that jumped out at me for its laser-focus on the issue that I think presents the biggest barrier for women's leadership advancement - institutional cultures and practices. The article appeared in a "Notes" publication by the American Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs ( and summarized the lessons learned by the Puget Sound Women’s Pediatric Society (PSWPS) in their efforts to foster and encourage leadership among women in pediatrics in the Puget Sound area and to support their professional and personal development. Here's the paragraph:

"Lesson 4: Opening Pathways for Women to Assume Leadership Will Require Profound Institutional, Cultural, and Societal Change: Two years ago, our steering committee felt that it was time to move from inspirational talks and skill-building workshops to initiate institutional change that would promote work/life balance in pediatric careers. Important issues, such as the impact of pregnancies during pediatric residency and the continuing lack of on-site quality child care, maternity, paternity, or elder care leave, and flexible work settings in both community and academic settings, among others, were focal points for our discussions. Similar issues were raised by a national task force addressing challenges to women pediatricians. Successful solutions to these barriers will benefit both men and women and will foster movement of women into positions of leadership."

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