“All is not well in Camelot,” California Sen. Jackie Speier said as she addressed the first ever forum discussing faculty gender equity in the UC system on Thursday in Corwin Pavilion.
The forum was held by the university as an update on an audit Speier requested three years ago of gender equity in the hiring policies of the UC system. Speakers from all levels of the UCSB administration gave addresses at the forum, and numerous faculty members were in attendance. Speier said everything from the hiring of new professors to maternity leave needs to change.
A potential solution to gender equity in hiring practices is to hire more professors at the assistant or junior level, where more women are available, instead of at the senior level, Speier said.
“The hiring of professors from the assistant level is good not only for diversity, but also financial reasons, demographic reasons and age distribution of the professors as well,” Acting Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas said.
The audit commissioned by the California State Auditor found that men comprised most of the search teams that recruit new professors.
“The audit showed that with more women on the committee, more women were hired,” said Susan Koshy, co-chair of the UCSB Senior Women’s Council.
Chancellor Henry Yang expressed a desire to ensure that committees had women representatives.
“In all of the search committees I put together,” Yang said, “I want to make sure the committees have equity.”
A common goal expressed by speakers was matching the male-to-female ratio of professors teaching and researching within the UC system to the national male-to-female ratio of Ph.D. recipients. One possible solution mentioned at the forum included making available and setting aside research grants specifically for women and minorities.
Some at the forum expressed doubts about such grants.
“It indicates that women need a special helping hand and are not selected on their merit,” said Martin Moskovits, dean of mathematical, life and physical sciences at the College of Letters and Science.
Moskovits said the money set aside for grants could be used to improve facilities and programs that would in turn lure potential professors.
Speier said the grants were designed to promote equality.
“It’s not about giving a helping hand to women,” Speier said.