Editorial: The university needs a few more good women

By Gus Bode

SIUC is a boy’s club.

Of the top 20 positions at the Carbondale campus, only one is held by a woman.

The Daily Egyptian thinks SIUC should take advantage of this situation – an administration riddled with interims and temps – and fix this problem.

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SIUC has had its share of hiccups the past few years, but this problem has been ongoing for much longer than anything else on the university’s radar.

And people know it.

Mary Dee Wenniger, the editor of the ‘Women in Higher Education’ monthly journal, has labeled the university as a ‘hostile environment for women leaders.’

Ouch.

There are a lot of reasons women aren’t appointed to such positions. They have less experience because they take time off when they have children. The university’s reputation as a ‘hostile environment’ may discourage female applicants. And oftentimes promotions from within draw from positions that have been held by males for a very, very long time.

Overall, only 37 percent of full-time SIUC faculty is female, compared with a 41 percent average statewide. While that number has increased in the past 10 years – from 26 percent of SIUC faculty being women in 1998 – it is still behind the state average.

Nationally, women make up 45 percent of all administrators in public universities, according to the American Council on Education. The university’s administrative makeup is 35 percent.

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Women hold 36 percent of dean positions nationwide. SIUC does not have a single female dean.

This university strives to keep a diverse student body. The faculty and especially administration should reflect that diversity if this university is to serve its diverse student body adequately. It is time the university stopped saying it strives to diversify positions and actually do it.

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