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UMN Women’s Faculty Cabinet tackles gender equity issues

The cabinet will discuss the development of a gender equity report card at its May 18 retreat.
Illustrated by Abby Adamski
Image by Abby Adamski
Illustrated by Abby Adamski

The University of Minnesota’s Women’s Faculty Cabinet (WFC) will discuss the development of a gender equity report card to better understand gender-related issues on campus at their first in-person retreat post-COVID-19 on May 18.

The WFC was created in 2006 to improve and enrich the academic and professional environment for women faculty at the University.

The initiative to develop and advocate for a gender equity report card started last fall and was introduced at the Faculty Consultative Committee meeting on March 30, WFC Co-Chair Catherine McCarty said. The report card will collect data that can be compared over time to other universities and the University’s progress itself.

“We are at the beginning,” WFC Co-Chair Gayle Golden said. “But we have identified most of what we want to try and ask.”

The WFC is currently focusing on outreach and feedback, and members plan to implement the report card next year, McCarty said.

The primary goal of the report card is to collect data on gender equity issues. Eventually, the WFC wants to have a quantitative survey every other year, followed by a qualitative survey on the off years, McCarty said.

The WFC has developed six areas members want to tackle, including equity in University roles, equity in opportunities for promotion and equity in compensation and benefits. Additionally, it will focus on equity in service loads, equity in teaching and equity in the departmental climate.
McCarty said some data is difficult to capture and might require help from department chairs if the information is not available through human resources or WORKS, a web-based tool used for reporting and updating professional activities.

“Carefully designed and implemented, a gender and equity report card has the potential to provide important information on how the [University] is advancing our mission, our institution, and our community, and to identify areas for future growth,” Provost Rachel Croson said in an email to the Minnesota Daily.

Once the WFC has the results, they want to advocate for actionable items that the University can implement to address gender equity issues that will be included in the report card.

Golden said the WFC doesn’t know the full scope of what the report card will look like yet, but they hope it will be “easy, baked-in and enduring.”

“For me, it is very important to understand the snapshot of where gender equity is at in this institution,” Golden said. “We won’t know how to address gender equity issues unless we know where things stand.”

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