Progress Toward Gender Equity at U of G

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The University’s GenEQ: Advancing the Status of Women at U of G initiative was launched in March 2017 by Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic).

“Improving gender equity at the University of Guelph is an integral part of our commitment to improve life,” says Yates. “As we support women in their academic and professional careers and celebrate their successes, we foster an inclusive culture that elevates our University.”

Since the initiative’s launch, progress has been made in a number of key areas.

Hiring of post-doctoral researcher

In October 2017, U of G hired post-doctoral fellow Alexandra Rodney to research the current state of gender equity at U of G.

Rodney, an expert in the sociology of gender and work, says, “Understanding the barriers to gender equity involves understanding gender bias, organizational context and the larger cultural context.

“We know that removing these barriers contributes to the retention and promotion of excellent women on campus.”

She studies best practices for equity and inclusivity on university campuses. As part of GenEQ, she is collecting data on women’s leadership across all groups at the University for a report to be released in 2019.

To connect with Rodney, email genderequity@uoguelph.ca.

Forming of advisory group

Under the guidance of Yates and Martha Harley, associate vice-president (human resources), an advisory group was formed to recommend programs, practices and policy changes to promote, facilitate and support women’s equity and inclusivity within the University.

The group meets monthly, led by co-chairs Prof. Belinda Leach, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Michelle Fach, director, Open Learning and Educational Support.

Says Leach, “Having a committee with equal representation of students, staff and faculty ensures that we are paying attention to the gender issues facing a broad range of people on campus. Policies and practices may look very different to different groups.”

The committee is focusing on creating a gender equity speaker series and increasing communications to support gender equity.

Says Fach, “Celebrating the significant contributions of women at the University of Guelph will serve to inspire all women to push against barriers that prevented the advancement of women. We will be a better institution when we engage women at all levels of the organization.”

Comments on gender equity that were shared at the GenEQ kick-off dinner were shared with the group and have helped inform their priorities.

Promoting gender equity efforts across campus

The GenEQ initiative is helping amplify the gender equity efforts of others across campus. An events section on the GenEQ website lists some of the activities happening at U of G to support gender equity.

To further support University community members committed to gender equity, the committee will publish short profiles of inspiring women and allies on the gender equity website in 2019.

To share your event on the site or to suggest an inspiring individual to profile, email genderequity@uoguelph.ca.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

An International Women’s Day breakfast held in March by the GenEQ advisory group attracted more than 400 people from across the University. The event included remarks from Yates and Fach and performances by students from the College of Arts music program.

The group plans a similar event on International Women’s Day 2019.

Future plans

With the committee’s work well underway, plans for the future include:

  • Hosting a speaker series
  • Updating the GenEQ website
  • Sharing stories about women’s research, scholarship, service and contributions to campus and community
  • Creating a report on best practices for gender equity
  • Creating a report on best practices for women’s leadership programs
  • Developing mentorship and leadership programs for women
  • Hosting campus discussion groups on gender equity
  • Examining barriers to women’s advancement

Learn more about GenEQ: Advancing the Status of Women at U of G on the gender equity website or by contacting genderequity@uoguelph.ca.

Infographic on supporting women at work

Supporting Women at Work accessible infographic