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Gender Equity Among Faculty, Senior Leaders Focus of New Task Force

April 13, 2018 – The university’s dedication to gender equity is advancing with the launch of a new task force to study and recommend ways to strengthen the university’s capacity to support and advance gender equity among its faculty and senior leadership.

“We have a deep commitment to recruiting the very best and most talented students, faculty, and staff, and to ensuring that our faculty and senior administrators reflect the diversity of our community,” says President John. J. DeGioia. “In this moment, we have the opportunity to look ahead to the important and necessary work that remains to achieve greater gender equity in our community.

Georgetown is one of 10 universities worldwide recognized by the United Nations as a HeForShe impact champion for gender equity.

This past September, DeGioia was one of a group of 30 university presidents, heads of state and CEOs that helped unveil a new gender parity report for the United Nations Women HeForShe campaign.

The university also is home to numerous academic units and programs that address gender, including the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the Gender Justice Initiative, the Women’s Center, the Georgetown Women’s Alliance and enhanced work on Title IX and sexual assault issues. 

Task Force Chair

Jane Aiken (LLM’85), a Georgetown Law vice dean and professor with expertise in family and education law and clinical education, will chair the newly created Task Force on Gender Equity.

“Promoting gender equity doesn’t just ensure better outcomes for women; it ensures better outcomes for the students we teach and the research we produce,” says Aiken, who joined Georgetown in 2007 and previously served on a gender task force at the University of South Carolina. “I’m honored to be tasked with this important work by President DeGioia and have been energized by the preliminary discussions I’ve already had with so many faculty and administrators in our community who are engaged in this important work.”

“In the years to come, we are committed to ensuring that Georgetown is a place where women thrive and are recognized for their contributions,” she adds.

Diverse Experience

Aiken, a strong advocate of international women’s rights, also chaired the Governor’s Task Force on AIDS for the state of Arizona and has been involved in numerous legal cases involving domestic violence against women and children.

At Georgetown, she met with more than 100 community members around the formation of the task force.

Members of the task force were identified through a process of consultation and nomination process through the Faculty Senate and later appointed by the president.

“Jane has engaged with and will continue to seek input from a wide variety of disciplines, perspectives, and roles across our three campuses,” DeGioia says. “She brings deep and diverse expertise as an academic and administrative leader to this new leadership role.”

Tackling Gender Equity

Among the charges of the new task force are assessing institutional practices and how they impact gender equity; examining best practices that lead to improved gender equity; looking at ways to measure accountability; and recommending specific, actionable steps that Georgetown can take to achieve its goals.

“In each of these areas, the task force will strive to recognize and reflect on diverse experiences that comprise our community and the many ways in which different identities and backgrounds intersect with gender,” Aiken explains.

Task force explorations may include hiring, retention, rank and promotion processes; salary and compensation; opportunities for recognition; service responsibilities; leadership roles and pathways to leadership as well as community and culture.

“A great deal of progress has been made toward gender equity at Georgetown,” says Rosemary Kilkenny, vice president for institutional diversity and equity. “This task force builds on the efforts of so many community members, who in the past have worked to establish these programs and many others, and gives us the opportunity to do even more.”