September 21, 2017 – Georgetown President John J. DeGioia was one of a group of 30 university presidents, heads of state and CEOs in New York Wednesday to officially unveil a new gender parity report for the United Nations Women HeForShe campaign.
Last year, the university announced a partnership as an Impact Champion with the campaign, an international movement that encourages men and boys to advocate for gender equality.
The efforts of Georgetown and the other HeforShe Impact Champions were detailed in the parity report, unveiled during the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Global Gender Equity
While in New York, DeGioia explored global gender equity along with Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone, during a HeforShe panel discussion moderated by TIME magazine columnist Susanna Schrobsdorff.
The university president talked about the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security, headed up by Melanne Verveer, the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues.
The institute was founded to study, understand, and promote the role of women in peace and security efforts through stronger data and research.
“Together in this institute we are establishing a case for the role of women in peace-building and security,” DeGioia said. “We’ve been able to do case studies in Northern Ireland, in Tunisia, and the Philippines, and most recently in Colombia – irrefutable proof of the significant role that women must play in peace-building.”
Inclusive Equals Success
He said the institute’s next project is to create a global index, working with the Norwegian government, to develop an index ranking nations in terms of how women are contributing to ensuring peace and security in their nations.
“We will have metrics that will able you to assess the strength of your nation,” DeGioia explained.
“In every case, if we have women engaged we will do better,” he said when asked what makes women’s participation so important. We will be able to achieve goals that we could not imagine if we just tried to do it in an exclusive way. The more inclusive we can be, the more diversity we can celebrate, the more women are central and connected to everything we do, the more success we will have.”
Sexual Assault Survey
Georgetown took aim at a specific gender equality issue in 2016 after noting that a 2015 Association of American Universities survey found 11.7 percent of student respondents reported non-consensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of physical force or incapacitation.
"To understand the scope of sexual misconduct and sexual assault on our campus and determine how best to address the issues, the university conducted a comprehensive and university-wide climate survey to assess the incidence, prevalence and characteristics of sexual assault and misconduct, students' perceptions of such incidents and their knowledge of resources to address the situation," explains Rosemary Kilkenny, Georgetown's vice president for institutional diversity and equity.
The university had one of the highest participation rates for the survey, with 51 percent of students answering questionnaires following a comprehensive marketing campaign.
DeGioia subsequently created a Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Task Force, comprising students, faculty and staff, that resulted in the implementation of a program teaching 350 student leaders how to safely intervene in a sexual assault or misconduct incident.
The university also hired additional support staff and convened a committee to study alcohol consumption on campus.
The efforts of Georgetown and the other HeforShe impact champions were detailed in the parity report, unveiled during the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women, called the gender parity report “inspirational.” “As leaders in their fields the Champions hold the key to breaking norms and making game-changing progress for both women and men,” she said. “The report shares strategies, roadblocks and successes so others can follow suit.”