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GENDER EQUITY UPDATE . June 20/23, 2005 Sponsored by the Gender Equity Program Advisory Committee and the Offices of the Director and Director of Research. TE. OVERVIEW. Gender Equity Program Advisory Committee members Brief history of gender equity efforts at WHOI since 1988

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gender equity update


June 20/23, 2005

Sponsored by the

Gender Equity Program Advisory Committee

and the Offices of the Director and Director of Research


  • Gender Equity Program Advisory Committee members
  • Brief history of gender equity efforts at WHOI since 1988
  • Status report on recommendations from 2000
  • Recent GEPAC activities
  • “Chilly Climate” workshop survey results
  • Plans for the future
  • Community input


gender equity program advisory committee
Gender Equity Program Advisory Committee

Retired/Retiring Members

Kathy Elder (G&G)

Susan Grieve (AOPE)

Marjorie Holland (Marine Ops)

Darlene Ketten (Biology)

Steve Lentz (PO)

Ellyn Montgomery (PO)

Barrie Walden (AOPE/OSS )

Dan Repeta (MC&G)

New Members

Cyndy Chandler (MC&G)

John Farrar (PO JP student)

Greg Hirth (G&G)

Nancy Grumet (MC&G PDF)

Ken Houtler (Ship Ops)

Elizabeth Kujawinski (MC&G)

Mike Purcell (AOPE)

Larry Pratt (PO)

Continuing Members

Heidi Sosik, Co-chair (Biology)

Tim Eglinton, Co-Chair (MC&G)

Ernie Charette (Facilities)

Marsha Gomes (APO)

Christine Hammond (CIS)

Andone Lavery (AOPE)

Tom Nemmers (Board Relations)

Karen Rauss (Ombuds Office)


history of gender equity initiatives at whoi
History of gender equity initiatives at WHOI

1987: Creation of independent office for Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action

1988: Equity Climate Assessment Study

1999: Release of report on status of women on the faculty in MIT’s School of Science

1999: Gender Equity Review Committee established (S. Humphris, co-Chair; P. Richardson, co-Chair; A. Bower, M. Grosenbaugh, S. Lentz, J. McDowell, M.K. Tivey)

2000: Gender Equity Review Committee report released

2001: Formation of Gender Climate Assessment Advisory Committee (Charge: provide advice and feedback to the Institution's Ombuds/EEO Officer with regard to the type, scope and manner in which to conduct further assessments of the gender climate at WHOI.)

2002: Retrospective on Progress since 1988 Equity Climate Assessment study. Gender Equity Survey conducted June 2002, Results presented 2003

2003: Pilot “Chilly Climate” workshops

2003: Initiation of Visiting Scholars in gender equity

2004: Gender Equity Program Advisory Committee



Retrospective on Progress since 1988 Equity Climate Assessment studyConducted by the Gender Climate Assessment Advisory CommitteeJanuary, 2002

Selected Conclusions and Recommendations

  • “Progress has been made in the status, population and influence of women at WHOI since the 1988 [study]. ...However, most of the recommendations made then are still valid and require consistent attention and additional effort to address.”
  • “The notable areas still needing attention and improvement are:
    • Appointing a female department chair.
    • Attracting/retaining more women on the Scientific Staff, particularly at the senior levels.
    • Educating and training supervisors, management, and advisors, especially in the area of discriminatory behaviors.”


update on progress since 2000 report
Update on progress since 2000 report
  • Gender Equity Review Committee produced a report in 2000 addressing equity issues specifically for the Scientific Staff
  • Current GEPAC objective:

to conduct a retrospective on progress made since the 2000 Gender Equity Report

  • Report included 13 specific recommendations
  • For each recommendation,
    • Assess status
    • Identify potential further action


2000 report recommendations
2000 Report Recommendations
  • WHOI should carefully review the salaries of women scientists to (i) ensure that women are being compensated equitably, (ii) determine why, in 3 out of the 4 ranks, women’s salaries are below those of men, (iii) ensure that women “joiners” are rewarded equitably for their total careers since Ph.D.
recommendation 1 salary
Recommendation 1 - Salary


  • Salary equity is an issue that receives on-going attention across all levels
  • Inequities documented in 2000 for Scientific Staff were corrected through salary adjustments and analysis in 2002 confirmed no inequities
  • The Compensation Manager in Human Resources reviews all salary recommendations with other incumbents in the job group, specifically checking for any inequities
  • Review is also conducted by the Director of Research

Preliminary GEPAC recommendation

  • Statistical analysis of salaries should be done annually and results made available to document no recurrent inequities


2000 report recommendations9
2000 Report Recommendations
  • Department Chairs should review the space allocations in those groups identified in this report where women have significantly less space than men, and discuss space needs with the women who fall within those groups. If necessary, space should be reallocated to ensure that women scientists have equitable space to their male colleagues. As new space becomes available, the Department Chairs should ensure that the space needs of women are considered equally to those of men.
recommendation 2 space allocation
Recommendation 2 – Space allocation


  • Space allocation is a perennial and thorny issue
  • Each department has procedures for tracking and reporting space allocation
  • Assessment of possible gender inequity is an informal part of this process
  • Evaluation by GEPAC pending data synthesis

Preliminary GEPAC Recommendation

  • A formal institution-level review of space allocation should conducted on a regular basis, with results readily available (e.g., every 3 years repeat the analysis presented in the 2000 Report)


2000 report recommendations11
2000 Report Recommendations
  • WHOI should continue to actively seek qualified women for scientific positions at the Institution, and in particular, a special effort should be made to attract senior women scientists.
  • WHOI should ensure that sufficient mentoring and advocacy of women junior scientists is in place to provide the best possible chance of promotion.
recommendation 3 hiring of women
Recommendation 3 – Hiring of women


  • Priority issue with Department Chairs and Directorate
  • Substantial progress in numbers of women
  • Focus on senior hires has not emerged

Open question

Does hiring of senior women merit renewed attention or should focus remain on promotion and retention?




Total number of Scientific Staff

113 in 1988

148 in 2005


Women on the Scientific Staff

7 in 1988

29 in 2005


recommendation 4 mentoring
Recommendation 4 – Mentoring


  • Mentoring is a priority issue for Department Chairs and the Directorate
  • Department-level mentoring for Scientific Staff has become more formalized, though practices vary
  • “Navigating the Tenure Track” (Scientific Staff handbook) was published in 2001, distributed to all Scientific Staff, and made available from the Director of Research web site
  • Institution-wide Mentoring Task Force convened in 2001, successful pilot Mentoring Program initiated in 2003
  • Organizing committee and on-going institution-wide Mentoring Program now in place


2000 report recommendations15
2000 Report Recommendations
  • WHOI should identify the issues that are important in recruiting and retaining scientific staff in order to determine whether steps can be taken to increase the attractiveness of WHOI as a workplace for both men and women.
  • WHOI should make every effort to retain women scientists as they progress through the promotion process by (i) making sure women scientists have the necessary resources to do their work, (ii) building critical mass of scientists in areas of research that WHOI women scientists represent, and (iii) recognizing, at the Department Chair and the Directorate levels, important contributions by WHOI women scientists.
recommendations 5 6 recruitment and retention
Recommendations 5 & 6 – Recruitment and retention


  • Viewed as a critical issue by Department Chairs and Directorate
  • “Navigating the Tenure Track” provides clear guidelines to everyone
  • Proactive recruitment efforts are being pursued
    • Soliciting applicants, Academic Programs “booth”
  • More open attention to dual career couples, but still a difficult issue
  • WHOI selection process is not a factor in the decline in representation of women between graduate school and post-doc position






recommendations 5 6 recruitment and retention18
Recommendations 5 & 6 – Recruitment and retention

Open question

Is the selection process for Scientific Staff equitable?


62 men and 34 women completed Postdoctoral Scholar/Fellow appointments;

29% (18) of the men and 20.5% (7) of the women were appointed to the Scientific or Senior Technical Staff;

30% of all Scientific Staff hires were women (compared, for instance, to women being 35% of post-docs)

Total men hired : 28

Total women hired: 12


recommendations 5 6 recruitment and retention19
Recommendations 5 & 6 – Recruitment and retention

Preliminary GEPAC Recommendations

  • Annual data should be made available to

a) compare applicant and appointment pools

b) document hiring and retention rates

  • A formalized exit interview process, as previously suggested, should be implemented institution-wide

Example from Academic Programs

  • 1999-2001 exit interviews and recruitment discussions highlighted dissatisfaction with lack of a parental leave benefit for Postdoctoral Scholars
  • In response, a new benefit was put in place in 2002 and has been very well received


2000 report recommendations20
2000 Report Recommendations
  • The WHOI Directorate should establish clear guidelines for the use of bridge support and make sure that the policy is applied uniformly among men and women scientists across all the departments.
recommendation 7 bridge support
Recommendation 7 – Bridge support


  • Guidelines on bridge support completed in 2001 and currently published on Director of Research web site
  • Addressed in “Navigating the Tenure Track”
  • Bridge support is distributed on the basis of need


2000 report recommendations22
2000 Report Recommendations
  • WHOI should carefully review the distribution of “hard money” support among men and women scientists, including distribution among untenured and tenured groups. Although preliminary data indicate that men and women scientists both get about 2-3 months of internal support per year on average, the data may show discrepancies among the different scientific staff levels and departments.
2000 report recommendations23
2000 Report Recommendations
  • Department Chairs should make a concerted effort to ensure that all scientists (i) are aware that discretionary funds are available, (ii) understand the types of activities that are appropriate for requesting discretionary funds, and (iii) know the proceduresfor requesting them. This is particularly important for women scientists who, in some cases, do not appear to be part of the process by which this information is disseminated.
recommendations 8 9 hard money and discretionary funds
Recommendations 8 & 9 Hard Money and Discretionary Funds


  • Distribution of salary support is tracked by the Director of Research and Academic Programs Offices
  • Overall evaluation by GEPAC pending data synthesis
  • In recent years, there is no apparent inequity with respect to distribution of faculty hours




2003: Women accounted for 15% of the Scientific Staff

and received 18% of the available faculty hours

2004: Women accounted for 19% of the Scientific Staff

and received 18% of the available faculty hours



recommendations 8 9 hard money and discretionary funds26
Recommendations 8 & 9 Hard money and discretionary funds

Status (cont.)

  • Guidelines for distribution of discretionary funds completed in 2001 and currently published on Director of Research web site.
  • Access to discretionary support addressed in “Navigating the Tenure Track”
  • Department Chairs take a proactive role in equitably promoting awareness about availability of discretionary funds

Preliminary GEPAC Recommendation

  • Annual statistics on distribution of hard money and discretionary funds should be made available


2000 report recommendations27
2000 Report Recommendations
  • WHOI should continue to strive to have women represented on both Institution and Departmental Committees in proportion to their population in the scientific staff. Because of the limited number of senior women, achieving that desired goal currently puts an undue burden on those women that are in a position to serve. Senior women who are spending a greater amount of time doing committee work than their male counterparts should receive financial compensation for the additional time taken away from research. Increasing the number of senior women will make proportionate representation easier to accomplish.
recommendation 10 committee load
Recommendation 10 – Committee load


  • Disproportionate committee loads for women appear to be an on-going problem
  • Increase in the number of women on the staff is an important part of the long term solution

Open question

  • Are new guidelines needed now?


2000 report recommendations29
2000 Report Recommendations
  • WHOI should establish a clear policy on the allocation of salary support to scientific staff participating in Development events.
  • Each department should review its postdoctoral [researchers] on an annual basis to identify potential new appointments (especially of women) to the Scientific Staff.
recommendation 11 development activities
Recommendation 11 – Development activities


  • Preliminary data on staff outreach activities for Development suggest women play a disproportionate role
  • Further evaluation by GEPAC pending data synthesis
  • Formal salary support policy in place since 2002

“When staff are asked to participate in outreach activities/events held at WHOI and their participation at the event exceeds 4 hours (not including preparation time), the Development Office will compensate the staff's salary for the amount of time that exceeds 4 hours. For events held off-site, away from WHOI, the Development Office will pay for travel expenses and will compensate the staff's salary for time spent away from campus, up to 8 hours per day.”



Recommendation 11 – Development activities

Open question

  • Are research funds linked to Development distributed equitably?
    • Some preliminary data are available: Over the last five years, gifts for designated research by specific researchers have involved 13 female PIs and 100 male PIs; i.e., 12% to women during a period when Scientific staff averaged 18% women

Preliminary GEPAC Recommendation

  • Policy and process by which foundation and private funds are distributed directly to PIs for sponsored research should made readily available


recommendation 12 post doc review
Recommendation 12 – Post-doc review



  • This issue receives considerable attention from Academic Programs and Department Chairs
  • Progress report completed in 2003

68% of the women on the Scientific Staff had come to WHOI as post-docs (44% for men)

  • Continues to be an important route for recruitment to the Scientific Staff



recommendation 12 post doc review33
Recommendation 12 – Post-doc Review

Status (cont.)

  • Formal annual review process is now in place for all post-docs
  • Recruitment of women into postdoctoral positions is critical
    • Academic Programs “booth” and web site may help
    • Current selection process is equitable
  • Post-doc (and Joint Program student) representative now on GEPAC


2000 report recommendations34
2000 Report Recommendations
  • WHOI should now initiate a study of intangible issues that directly affect the gender climate in the workplace.
recommendation 13 climate assessment
Recommendation 13 – Climate assessment


  • Survey in 2001 documented certain issues such as “microinequities” that exist throughout the WHOI workforce
  • Advisory group (now GEPAC) formed in 2001
    • Major recent focus on assessing and improving the workplace climate


recent gepac activities
Recent GEPAC Activities
  • Execution of Phase I “Introduction to the Chilly Climate” Workshops (led by Bernice Sandler, 14 separate sessions in 2004)
  • Development and distribution of Gender Equity survey (associated with the workshops)
  • Development of GEPAC website (
  • Third in a series of Visiting Scholars on gender equity

Dr. Virginia Valian, March 2003

Dr. Kathleen Crane, June 2003

Prof. Nancy Hopkins, MIT. Dec 2004

  • Preliminary discussions on format and content of Phase II workshops


introduction to the chilly climate workshops
“Introduction to the Chilly Climate” Workshops

Dr. Bernice Sandler

Senior Scholar, Women’s Research and Education Institute

"Although most people try to treat everyone fairly, many of us --- men and women alike -- often inadvertently treat women differently in many small ways.  For example, women are interrupted more often, receive less eye-contact and are included less in professional interactions…    Although the chilly climate certainly includes overtly discriminatory behaviors which are more easily recognized, it is the more subtle behaviors that will be explored in the workshops."

Phase 1

Attendees: 341

Survey return rate: 96% (328)

(152 men, 171 women, 5 no response)

Total (including pilots)

Attendees: 415

Survey return rate: 89%


pre workshop questions
Pre-workshop questions

Q1. On a scale of 1-5, how familiar are you with what a chilly climate refers to with regard to gender equity?

[1 = very familiar; 5 = no idea].


q2 how harmful do you think gender bias is in the workplace 1 negligible 5 very harmful
Q2. How harmful do you think gender bias is in the workplace? [1 = negligible; 5 = very harmful]



Q3. Within the last five years have you experienced disrespectful treatment, intolerance or preferential behavior based on your gender or ethnicity at WHOI? [yes or no]

Women only

- if so, how often? [1 = rarely; 5 = very frequently (daily)]

Women only



Q5. Is reducing gender inequity an important pursuit for our Institution? [1 = no; 5 = extremely important]


post workshop questions
Post-workshop questions

Q6. How beneficial do you feel this workshop was?

[1 = not beneficial; 5 = very beneficial].


Q10. Do you feel you now have more strategies to address uncomfortable situations?[1 = no; 5 = very much so]



Q12. How beneficial do you think it would be to participate in a second in-depth workshop? [1= not at all; 5 = greatly]


selected comments
Selected Comments
  • “There are compelling parallels between gender inequities and other kinds of inequities – based on race, age, class, education etc. It might be helpful for each participant to submit one story (200-300 words max) before a workshop, and have those as the basis of discussion, anonymously” (male, group leader).
  • “I think it is wonderful for the institution to be educating its staff on this kind of subconscious activity” (female).
  • “Address more specifically to science environment now that the general has been addressed” (female).
  • “Please don’t waste any more employees’ time with this non-issue. Does WHOI stand to lose some funding or accreditation if these sessions aren’t held?” (male).
  • “Spent majority of time on man’s actions against women. None on what women do to me” (male).
  • “This workshop should be mandatory for everyone. Otherwise not much change will be made” (female student).
  • “I think any PI with graduate students should be required to take this session” (female student).


plans for the future
Plans for the Future
  • Final offering of Phase 1 workshops
  • Phase II workshops
    • Customized case studies/strategies
  • Initiation of workshops for new employees
  • Enhanced GEPAC website with interface for anonymous community input (stay tuned)
  • Increased attention on equity issues for the WHOI community beyond the Scientific Staff



Total employees 198820012005

835 931 1024 23% increase



Total women 198820012005

260 355 406 56% increase