A strong advocate for gender equity
Date: September 16, 2011
As a new associate dean, Barbara Fivush continues her mission to develop and promote women faculty members at the school of medicine.
In 2005, when an internal report showed that women faculty in the school of medicine lagged behind men in salaries, promotions and leadership roles, pediatrics professor Barbara Fivush started building support for ways to change that.
As the first director of the Office of Women in Science and Medicine, she helped increase the number of women serving on high-level school of medicine committees, worked closely with Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs Janice Clements to study and report on faculty salary equity, and introduced a leadership program for women faculty members. This eight-month course, designed for associate and assistant professors, provides training in such areas as negotiating, communicating and networking. (The third cohort of 45 to 50 women begins the program at the end of this month.)
Fivush will now assume a new role: associate dean for women in science and medicine. The first person to hold this position in the Office of the Vice Dean for Faculty, Fivush intends to provide women faculty with additional mentoring, educational and networking opportunities while promoting gender equity at all levels.
“Although 36 percent of our faculty members are women, 80 percent of our full professors are men,” she says. “Only three of our 32 department chairs are women. And it’s still a reality that we have a salary differential by gender.”
Fivush says her appointment will allow her to speak more frequently with department directors and other members of the medical faculty advisory board about gender-related issues. She also plans to introduce an “emerging” leadership course for women who are instructors and assistant professors. This program will teach new faculty members how to write NIH grant applications and letters of recommendation while also helping to develop their mentoring skills.
Fivush remains head of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology. After completing a fellowship at the Children’s Center, she joined the faculty in 1984 and was promoted to full professor in 2001.