18 Schools, 18 Approaches – International Women’s Day (Part 1 of 3)

March 8th is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is ‘Generation Equality’. I have been tracking how PRME Signatories report on initiatives relating to women and gender in their Sharing Information on Progress reports for several years now and am still surprised at how few schools report on these. Over the next few days I will focus in on a few schools that have been and will share with you just a small selection of the impressive initiatives that they are organising. This list includes 18 schools from 14 different countries.

Student networks: Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Canada engages female students in part through clubs. The Women in Business club provides a platform for undergraduate students to explore the opportunities and careers available to them. The McGill MBA Women’s Association’s (MMWA) mission is to maximize the professional development of female students and alumni of the McGill MBA programme through strategic engagement with the McGill community and broader Montreal networks. They enable networking opportunities, celebrate successful women in business and facilitate interactions with influential people.

Gender equality: PRME Champion Queen’s Management School Gender Equality Team (GET) explores gender balance, processes, practices and culture. It meets monthly and consists of students and staff across the School. Work carried out by the GET includes hosting and facilitating conversations on gender issues in academia, drawing attention to senior female role models, organising gender awareness activities, and ensuring that School processes actively promote gender equality to staff member and students. In June 2019, former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, formally launched the Queen’s Management School Annual Mary McAleese Diversity Lecture Series which is part of the School’s mission to promote greater equality and diversity.

Mentorship for faculty: At Stockholm Business School in Sweden a Steering Committee has been working on the continued implementation of gender mainstreaming at the School in order to secure a gender equal organisation as well as gender equal processes regarding reference literature for students, salary reviews for employees, recruitment and announcement of positions and career paths. Part of the strategy includes a one-year mentorship programme for female faculty to become promoted to Associated Professor or Professor. The programme also has the aim to increase the number of female faculty applying for promotion to Associate Professor or Professor. Continued support is given to these female faculty members for up to two years after the completed programme. 12 female faculty/mentees at Stockholm Business School were part of the first cohort.

Mentorship for students: The Milgard Women’s Initiative at Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington Tacoma matches MBA students with female executive leaders in the greater Tacoma area for mentoring and professional development. Mentors and mentees are expected to make a one-year commitment to the program. An orientation session is set up at the beginning of the programme to introduce everyone and a wrap up session at the end. There are also group sessions with more structured discussions on two Saturdays during the programme. Topics this year including leading through influence, communication differences between men and women and how to give and receive feedback.

Courses offered: A class on Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace offered at Ryeson Univeristy’s Ted Rogers School of Management in Canada focuses on how the Canadian workforce has become more diverse in recent decades and is projected to be more so in the coming years. For example, women now account for almost half of the Canadian labour force. This course explores the opportunities and challenges of working in and managing diverse and inclusive workplaces. The university also has a number of events on campus organised by the Women in Information Technology Management Association at Ryerson and Women in Leadership as well as research on increasing leadership opportunities for women in Canada among other topics.

Opportunities for students: The University of Technology, Sydney Faculty of Business in Australia has a number of programmes aimed at supporting female students. The Women in Finance Programme, run in partnership with investment firm Pendal, provides mentoring to high-potential female undergraduate students. The programme aims to help female students better understand the opportunities available in the finance sector, and to navigate organisational culture and develop the confidence to succeed. The School also offers a scholarship to increase the participation of women in business and provide support for women experiencing hardship, in particular aimed at women from regional and remote areas who aspire to a career in business. UTS Business School joined forces with the 3:30 Project to create a tangible action plan to eliminate gender inequality in the workplace.

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