UW News

November 29, 2007

Report on UW women released: Statistics show substantial progress in some areas, less in others

Women are strongly represented among the UW’s central administration but less well represented among the Seattle campus’ deans and department chairs, especially the latter. Professional staff women are over-represented among the lower pay grades and under-represented among the higher pay grades. At UW Seattle, women tend to account for a higher percentage of nonladder faculty and a lower percentage of ladder faculty.

Those are just three of the facts in the newly released Report on Women at the UW, compiled by the President’s Advisory Committee on Women (PACW).

The report is based on data from 2005-07 and is organized into six sections (see below). Information is included on nonminority women and women of each reported racial/ethnic minority group.

Some highlights of the findings include:

  • Faculty: Women comprise 44 percent of all faculty at UW Bothell, 41 percent at UW Seattle, and 51 percent at UW Tacoma. Within ladder faculty, women account for a much higher percentage of assistant professors (47 percent) than professors (23 percent).
  • Staff: Women represented 68 percent of the classified staff and 58 percent of the professional staff in 2006. Among classified staff job categories that employed at least 100 women, the highest percentage of women was employed as professional nurses and as medical clerical workers, and the lowest percentage was employed as service workers in building and grounds. Among professional staff, the category employing the highest percentage of women is principal assistants, while the category employing the lowest percentage is computer specialists.
  • Administration: Women are strongly represented among the UW’s central administration. However, only 11 out of 106 department chairs are women.
  • Students: More than half of the undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the UW in Fall 2006 were women; Women earned more than half of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees and 47 percent of the doctorates.
  • Athletics: 2.3 percent of women undergraduates participate in intercollegiate athletics, and they represent 49 percent of all student athletes at UW. Women are less well represented among the coaching staff, comprising 31 percent of the head coaches (all for women’s teams) and 25 percent of the assistant coaches.
  • Crime: 20 percent of UW Police officers are women, compared to the national average of 12 percent. Women were rarely perpetrators of major crimes, with only five females arrested in 2006.

The report came out of a retreat that PACW held as it began its 10th year of existence, said Elaine Z. Jennerich, director of organization and training for UW Libraries, who was the chair last year, when the report was being compiled.

“We reviewed the charges of the committee and the contributions we’d made and what we wanted to do in the future,” she said. “One of the four charges of the committee is to collect data on the status of women at the UW, and that was something we had not really done. I thought it could not only make an important contribution now, but it would make a good baseline for the future.”

President Mark Emmert and Provost Phyllis Wise agreed, suggesting that PACW pursue the matter. So, drawing on the knowledge of its members, the committee came up with a list of 30 to 40 people who might be doing data collection. The committee’s research assistant, Celia Framson, began contacting those people and asking for available information.

“We didn’t decide on particular data we wanted,” Jennerich said. “We set out to discover what data was being collected on women at the University and we took everything we got.”

In an institution as large and diverse as the UW, it was tricky not only finding the data, but also dealing with the sometimes-conflicting terminology that was used, Jennerich said. As a result, the report includes a section defining all the terms used. It also includes a number of charts graphically illustrating the data.

Now that the report is complete, PACW is planning a “women’s summit” for 2008. “We’re going to invite representatives of as many groups as possible who have women’s issues as one of their major mandates,” Jennerich said. “We’d like them to look at the report and tell us where they see gaps, where they see surprises, where they’d like to see data collected.”

Beyond that, she’d like the groups to consider where their goals overlap and how they can collaborate and speak with one voice.

Jennerich would also like to see the report itself be institutionalized and updated on a regular basis, a goal that is supported by the president.

“As a baseline and a foundation for future study about UW women, this report is invaluable and I plan to ensure that we continue and improve this effort on an institutional basis,” Emmert said. “The impacts and contributions of women at the University of Washington — on its three campuses and in its medical system — are inestimable. The Report on Women can help us to identify where we need to improve and where we should be celebrating our successes.”

For Jennerich, who has served on PACW since it was created in 1996, the project was personally very satisfying. “The whole time it was coming together, it was a great experience,” she said. “I’ve been at the UW 20 years, and I feel that this is a legacy I can be very proud of.”

PACW will publish the report via its Web site: http://depts.washington.edu/pacw/reports/women2007.