A similar meeting with women of color was held earlier and one for faculty women will be held later this fall.
In a memo to deans, directors and department heads, the president explained that the purpose of the initiative [Agenda for Women] is to make women full and equal partners at the University of Michigan, adding that a variety of programs affiliated with the Agenda will promote the success of women of diverse backgrounds as faculty, staff and students.
Throughout this initial year of the Agenda, there will be several programs designed to understand and address those issues that are of greatest concern to staff women.
Of the approximately 27,000 women affiliated with the University as faculty, staff and students, 45 percent are in staff positions, 51 percent are students and four percent are faculty.
Thus, any initiative to address the climate for women must include significant efforts devoted to staff, Duderstadt said.
The president also requested assistance from the deans, directors and department heads in implementing the Agenda as it relates to staff in several areas:
Many staff women have emphasized to me the barriers created by work schedules that are unrealistic when combined with typical dependent care responsibilities, Duderstadt noted.
He noted also that existing policies provide managers with a wide range of options in creating flexible schedules that better respond to staff members needs.
A variety of events and initiatives focusing on staff women will be occurring this year. The success of these events, discussions and programs depends on the contributions and participation of staff women at all levels and from all areas of the University. As supervisors, Duderstadt added, I am asking for your support in encouraging and facilitating staff womens involvement.
Duderstadt explained that the University will be examining existing policies and practices and considering recommended modifications from a number of sources, including the town meetings, meetings with various staff organizations, findings from a series of focus groups conducted by the Center for the Education of Women, recommendations from the Presidents Advisory Commission on Womens Issues, and contributions from interested individuals and groups.