Task Force on Gender Equity – Report and Next Steps
May 27, 2021
As we reach the conclusion of our academic year, I wish to share with you the work of the Task Force on Gender Equity and the institutional commitments we will be making to advance gender equity in our academic community.
The Task Force, composed of faculty and academic leaders from all three campuses, engaged in rigorous and intensive work to research best practices as well as document and assess our institutional practices. They examined areas such as hiring and retention, compensation, work-life balance, climate and culture. In their Charge, they were asked to consider the diverse experiences of our community and how different identities and backgrounds intersect with gender and to develop recommendations to promote gender equity at Georgetown.
Guided by their report and recommendations, we are taking some immediate steps, including:
- The formation of a standing Gender Equity Committee, which will advise and guide the work identified in the report of the Task Force—this committee will have representation from all three campuses and will ensure our ongoing focus on gender equity as a priority for the University. The Task Force made short, medium, and long-term recommendations, which this committee will thoughtfully review as we engage through our shared governance processes.
- The improvement of the quality and comprehensiveness of faculty data—the Gender Equity Committee will work with our Data Governance Advisory Committee to enhance the data we have available for ongoing analysis.
- An update of the analysis of faculty salary data to determine if there are areas with potential indicators of pay disparities and a commitment to address any inequities that may exist. We will conduct salary equity reviews at least every three years.
- A five-year funding plan for the Gender+ Justice Initiative to elevate and support intersectional gender justice research, which recognizes the importance of this area of scholarship, the existing strengths, and the potential among our faculty to make significant contributions.
These are initial steps that will launch our next phase of work, and in collaboration with the Gender Equity Committee and our faculty and academic leadership, we will be moving to address the additional recommendations across the wide range of areas studied in the report.
I wish to offer my deep gratitude to the members of our Task Force for their efforts and my appreciation to current chair, Soyica Colbert (C’01), Interim Dean of Georgetown College and Idol Family Professor of African American Studies and Theater and Performance Studies, and past chair, Jane Aiken (LLM’85), our former colleague who now serves as the Dean of Wake Forest Law, for their leadership of this Task Force. Their efforts provide a strong foundation and a new imperative for us to advance gender equity on our campuses for all of our faculty and staff.
For our University community to thrive, we are called to uphold a respect for diversity, a commitment to inclusion, and the continuous pursuit of equity. The work ahead is to ensure that our commitment to equity—across gender, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation, age, and the range of identities that shape the lives of those in our community—is alive in our institutional practices and our campus culture. When we identify areas of improvement, whether in our practices or our policies, we have a shared responsibility to realize necessary change. This collective endeavor is embedded in our mission and identity and is encapsulated in our commitment to the Jesuit idea of cura personalis, a recognition of the individual experiences, perspectives, contributions, and challenges of each member of our community.
The past 15 months have provided new urgency to this work. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced many new challenges. As we move forward with the recommendations of the Task Force, we are mindful that additional attention is needed to understand and address the disruptions caused by the pandemic and the overall impact it has had on our community.
I wish to again thank the members of our Task Force for their dedication and for providing an important road map for our work ahead.
John J. DeGioia