In 1997, the President’s Commission on the
Status of Women (PCSW) issued a report showing that, although there
were no statistically significant differences in the salaries of
men and women in specific pay grades studied at Emory, focus group
participants held a general perception that women were paid less
than men holding positions in these same pay grades. There was a
sense that a “glass ceiling”––invisible
barriers preventing qualified women from advancing into top management
positions––existed at Emory.
The actual numbers of women in high-ranking positions refute the
notion of a glass ceiling at Emory. There are dozens of prominent
women in high-ranking positions, with vice presidents or associate/assistant
vice presidents in finance, development, the provost’s office,
ITD, HR, public affairs and the libraries. In the academic area,
we have two female deans.
Unequivocally, women have permeated the top ranks of the University
and many more are in management positions, poised to accept more
responsibility. Still, even beyond the presence of women in executive
positions, other facts demonstrate that Emory’s glass ceiling
has been lifted, not only for women but for minority employees,
Recent research indicates that women hold less than 7 percent of
all board seats in Fortune 100 companies. Six women serve on Emory’s
33-member Board of Trustees; that’s nearly 20 percent.
Among the University’s principal staff, which refers to key
professional and management positions, 57 percent are women and
15 percent are minorities.
Of the 8,570 full-time staff at Emory, 72 percent are female and
50 percent are minority. And last year, of the 551 Emory employees
who were promoted, 81 percent were women and 61 percent were minorities.
There were 340 reclassified positions; of those, 76 percent were
held by women and 40 percent by minorities.
Clearly, Emory values the talent of all its employees and has found
ways to remove barriers associated with the glass ceiling.
The University’s campus life reflects the rich diversity of
lifestyles, ethnicity, religious views and economic status that
exist in the world around us. Emory’s employment processes
have been fine-tuned to ensure that job candidates are the most
qualified. Diversity is included in our strategic plans and in our
efforts to foster internal promotions. Programs are in place to
help employees prepare for progressive responsibility, and support
services such as career counseling help employees assess and plan
for their futures.
Educational opportunities are available to all employees: courtesy
scholarships, tuition reimbursement, learning and development classes,
and ABE/GED classes. Last year alone, close to 4,200 people took
advantage of the training opportunities offered through HR, and
more than 1,000 employees and their dependents utilized the courtesy
scholarship and tuition reimbursement benefits.
HR works closely with the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP)
to ensure that we promote and sustain equal opportunities. We have
put into practice policies that address family needs, regardless
of gender or sexual orientation. Emory is doing much to help our
employees maintain a balance between their careers and their families.
Through the Faculty Staff Assistance Program, Emory offers the Family
Resources Program, which provides information regarding child care,
elder care and summer camp resources.
Mentor Emory, a program cosponsored by HR and PCSW, is designed
to link female employees seeking career enrichment with experienced
female staff. The objective is to encourage women to further their
professional development, enhance their careers and provide resources
to hone their skills.
Emory supports alternative work arrangements (flexible work schedules,
telecommuting, job sharing and condensed work weeks) on a case-by-case
The website, www.emory.edu/awa,
serves as a guide for managers and employees. Based on recommendations
from the PCSW’s report on alternative work arrangements, the
site explores definitions, scenarios and pros and cons of various
situations as well as links to other public and private business
websites exploring similar options.
The continuous change in the workplace requires us to step beyond
traditional expectations and the status quo. The success of all
of Emory’s employees depends not only on how we use what we
know, but also on how we prepare ourselves for the future.
Through our efforts in HR, EOP and the president’s commissions,
Emory has made great strides in breaking the glass ceiling and the
commitment is perpetual. We need to improve the ways in which we
share information about our successes and our needs. And, most importantly,
we need to work on identifying and overcoming the causes of the
perception of the existence of a glass ceiling at Emory.