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nEWS REPORT
 







Susan Michaelis, Rhoda Alani and Cynthia Wolberger
Aline Devreotes and Deborah Andrew
Wo-manning the registration desk
Carol Greider and Linda Fried
Organizer Emma Stokes toasts the honorees
No. 6, Barbara Migeon, meets No. 112, Jennifer Haythornthwaite
Christine Zink, Julie Freischlag, Julia Haller and Barbara Fivush

This Time, It Was All About Women


Three department chairs—Carol Greider, Julie Freischlag and Janice Clements.

The celebration may have been dubbed “100 Women Professors,” but between its conception in 2001, when that milestone seemed within reach, and its birth in 2005, nearly three dozen more women at the School of Medicine were promoted to full professor—bringing the grand total to 115.

That’s something to celebrate, because as recently as 1979 only seven women had been promoted to professor. That paucity is an indication of the long struggle for acceptance and recognition faced by generations of talented women scientists and clinicians.

On Nov. 1, the School celebrated their achievements with a daylong symposium and gala dinner.


Janice Clements, Kathleen Sanders and the woman who started it all—Mary Elizabeth Garrett.


Janice Clements, vice dean for faculty, welcomed more than 900 registrants to the day’s events. “One woman,” she said, “can change history,” and Baltimore philanthropist Mary Elizabeth Garrett, who provided the funding to establish the School on the condition that female students be admitted on the same terms as men, was such a woman.

Garrett’s legacy was very much in evidence at the meeting as a parade of distinguished women took the podium. Special guests included broadcaster Cokie Roberts, JAMA editor Catherine DeAngelis, and 2004 Nobel laureate Linda Buck.

A few speakers reminded the audience that Hopkins, like other academic institutions, still has work to do in equalizing pay and making working conditions more female friendly. “It’s not a joy every day,” admitted Julie Freischlag, director of the Department of Surgery. “Sometimes, it’s a struggle.” That seemed to sum up the experience of those who fought for the opportunities enjoyed by the young women in the audience.


Anne Murphy and Catherine DeAngelis

Cathy DeAngelis was such a fighter. Promoted to professor of pediatrics in 1985, she was only the 12th woman to achieve the rank in the School’s 92 years of existence. She went on to break open the bottleneck.

DeAngelis offered three pieces of advice: Choose your battles. Don’t climb over people. Use your innate skills and beliefs to solve problems. “I decided long ago that the only things that can make a difference to me are my family and my knowledge. No one can take them away from me but God.”

Deborah Rudacille

Women, Men and the SOM Faculty

A recent report, presented at the symposium, sizes up the status of women faculty at the School of Medicine. Developed by the 18-member Committee on Faculty Development and Gender, the report reflects a data-driven approach to analyzing salaries, faculty percentages and attrition rates. The committee conducted a faculty survey and interviewed department directors to identify discrimination issues.

Among the major findings: 80 percent of female faculty feel that men and women are not treated equally in their department. Many report feeling unheard in decision making and that their careers are slowed by family responsibilities. Fewer women get promoted to higher rank, and women spend longer at rank prior to promotion. The situation has led to women leaving Hopkins at higher rates than men. “Everyone was taken aback by the attrition,” says Cynthia Wolberger, a professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry, who presented the findings at the 100 Women Professors symposium.

But there were also encouraging revelations. The proportion of women faculty, especially in the senior ranks, has noticeably improved. Women now constitute 15 percent of full professors, double the percentage in 1994. Three out of 30 department directors are women. A salary study found a 6.3 percent gap in pay between men and women. That gap grows wider, however, as men advance faster than women.
In fact, it took female faculty hired in 1989-90 two years and four months longer than their male counterparts to be promoted to associate professor. And it took women three years longer to rise from associate to full professor.

The chief recommendations were to achieve salary equity, to schedule meetings at more family-friendly times, to conduct exit interviews, to address sexual harassment (reported by 20 percent of female faculty) and to repeat the faculty survey every three years.

Most importantly, the committee said, a new position of assistant dean for faculty development should be created to carry out its recommendations. Lisa Heiser, director of the University’s Career Management Program, has accepted the position and will start in January.

Mary Ellen Miller

To view the entire report of the Committee on Faculty Development and Gender, go to insidehopkinsmedicine.org/gender.

Cynthia Wolberger and Leslie Plotnik; Genie Heitmiller and Julia Haller; Diane Griffin and Barbara De Lateur talk about leadership. (All photos by Larry Canner)
 

 

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