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Brandeis marked as a “Leader” among elite universities in regard to gender power equality

The university was ranked as a “leader” among elite universities in “The Women’s Power Gap at Elite Universities: Scaling the Ivory Tower” report released in January 2022. The university was ranked fifth on the index placement for its progressive policies in regards to gender power equality on campus, according to the report.  

The study focused on 130 “R1” classified universities researched previously to identify those who are leaders in gender equality within higher education and those who lag behind, according to the initiative’s website. Publishing such a report in which universities are ranked against one another was done in hopes of “driving faster change” in regard to closing the gender power gap the website reads. Brandeis University was ranked fifth in gender equality within university leadership, as seen in BrandeisNow. 

According to the study, women have outnumbered men on college campuses for decades. Women have earned the majority of bachelor’s degrees for the past 40 years, the majority of master’s degrees for the past 35 years and the majority of doctoral degrees for the past 15 years, notes the report. Out of the 130 “R1” universities examined in the study, 55 percent of PhD earners are women while only 22 percent of university presidents are women. Out of this 22 percent of presidents, only five percent are women of color, despite the fact that women of color are the “fastest-growing segment of the college population in the United States,” according to the report. Since 2020, the number of Black male university presidents have doubled, but the number of Black woman presidents have not seen such increases, the study notes. 

The study states that men make up 61 percent of academic deans, 62 percent of provosts, 78 percent of presidents and 90 percent of system presidents in academia. Through these numbers, gender disparities within the larger system of “R1” universities are apparent, according to the report. Out of the universities examined, only six have had at least three women presidents, and 60—46 percent—have had none. In Massachusetts, three out of eight “R1” universities have had a woman president—including Brandeis University—and currently, none have a woman president, according to the study

The Women’s Power Gap Initiative ranked universities based on gender equality within the power structure by awarding points to universities in three areas: the number of past women presidents and if the university currently has a woman president, if there is a woman provost and the percentage of women who are academic deans, members of the president’s cabinet and tenured professors. Brandeis University ranked fifth overall with a total of 78.9 points and was classified by the Women’s Power Gap (WPG) as a “Leader”.

Points were awarded to Brandeis University for having one previous woman president, currently having a woman provost (Carole A. Fierke), having women holding 80 percent of academic deanship positions and for the fact that women make up 14 percent of the president’s cabinet and 35 percent of all tenured professors. The report notes that only three universities have a number of 80 percent or higher when it comes to women in academic deanship positions. This number means that there is a large pool of “highly qualified” women for a president position, as the report claims that presidents are often picked from previous deans. 

On top of the fifth-place index placement, Brandeis University is ranked second in the academic dean rating, sixth in tenured full professor rating and fourteenth in the president’s board rating. Brandeis is also the only university marked as a “Leader” by the report among the eight “R1” universities in Massachusetts and is one of three alongside Harvard and MIT that has ever had a woman president. 

The WPG Initiative and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) published a companion report to their previous report, “The Power Gap Among Top Earners at America’s Elite Universities,” entitled “The Women’s Power Gap at Elite Universities: Scaling the Ivory Tower,” in January 2022. 

Brandeis marked as a “Leader” among elite universities in regard to gender power equality

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