Plus, what makes a shero?
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Good morning and happy Monday! Here’s what you’ll find in this week’s newsletter:

Lastly, I’m working on a story about the 50th anniversary of Title IX and I’d appreciate your help. How has your life been affected or shaped by Title IX? Please send me an email or reply to this email – I’d love to hear your stories and experiences.

Have a great week!

– Emily Kestel, Fearless editor

UI a leader in women’s representation in leadership, national study says
The Pentacrest at the University of Iowa. Photo by Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Iowa was recognized as a national leader in gender representation in leadership in a January 2022 study by the Eos Foundation.

The study, called "The Women’s Power Gap at Elite Universities: Scaling the Ivory Tower," examines the 130 public and private universities across the U.S that are ranked by the Carnegie Classification as having the highest level of research activity.

The study ranked the institutions by awarding points in three categories: having a woman as president or chancellor, having a woman as provost, and the percentages of women who are academic deans, serve on the president’s cabinet and are tenured professors.

The points were weighted – 20 points for a current woman president, 10 points for each past woman president, 10 points for a current woman provost, 0.5 point for every 1% of women who are academic deans or tenured full professors, and 0.1 point for every 1% of women who are on the presidents' cabinet.

Once the institutions were ranked, the study placed them into categories indicating how well they're doing in working toward women's representation in university leadership. Universities that received 72 or more points were given the "leader" distinction. Those that scored between 62 and 71 were "almost there," those between 40 and 61 points were given the "work to do" distinction, and those that scored below 40 points were given the category of "needs urgent action."

Scoring 84.8 points, the University of Iowa ranked No. 4, behind the University of California-Santa Cruz, the City University of New York Graduate School and the University of New Hampshire. UI is led by President Barbara Wilson and has had two women previously serve as president – Sally Kay Mason from 2007 to 2015 and Mary Sue Coleman from 1995 to 2002. UI does not have a woman provost.

According to the study, 58% of academic deans at UI are women, 36% of Wilson’s cabinet are women and 24% of tenured full professors are women.

"The University of Iowa has had a long, proud history of elevating the role of women, stretching back to its earliest days," Wilson said in a release. "I am excited to see women at this university develop into our next leaders, and I hope to serve as a role model as their university’s president."

Iowa State University was also listed in the study with 51.5 points. ISU ranked No. 63 and was placed in the "work to do" category. Wendy Wintersteen currently serves as ISU’s first woman president. According to the study, 25% of the academic deans, 71% of Wintersteen’s cabinet and 24% of the tenured full professors at ISU are women.

Overall, women make up 22% of presidents, 38% of provosts, 39% of deans, 43% of presidents’ cabinets and 27% of tenured full professors at the 130 institutions featured in the report. Women of color make up 5% of presidents, 6% of provosts, 8% of deans, 13% of cabinet positions and 6% of tenured full professors.

What makes a shero?
From top left: Michelle Bates, Brittani Dudley, Christine Her, Maria Ramos. From bottom left: Karla Walsh, Lindsey White, Shekinah Young.
Editor's note: Last week, BPC President and CEO Suzanna de Baca shared a column in which she asked women across the state about who their sheroes were. This week, they share what a shero does. She talked to:

  • Michelle Bates, chief innovation officer, Revology.
  • Brittani Dudley, the Urban Impact Show.
  • Christine Her, executive director, ArtForce Iowa.
  • Maria Ramos, human resources talent acquisition manager, AgState.
  • Karla Walsh, wellness, food and lifestyle freelance writer and freelance writing coach.
  • Lindsey White, control management senior manager, vice president, Wells Fargo Home Lending Business Controls.
  • Shekinah Young, global inclusion consultant, Principal Financial Group.

Sheroes help others. "A shero is one who feels fulfilled by helping others succeed in life," says Ramos. "She goes above and beyond without expecting anything in return, sees the best in people and encourages others to do better."

Sheroes lift as we climb. Walsh says, "In a world where women earn 82 cents to every dollar that men do, where we face more health care disparities and where the cards are very much stacked against us everywhere from politics to boardrooms, it’s crucial for us to team up rather than tear each other down."

Sheroes challenge the status quo. "Sheroes are ordinary women who show up, call others into hard and uncomfortable conversations, and challenge the status quo," says Her, adding, "If we continue to support women, we’re supporting change leaders who have the strength and kindness to impact communities where everyone flourishes."

Sheroes bring others along. "Leadership isn’t about how well you do your job, but about how you inspire others around you and bring out the best in them," says White. "As a Black woman it is paramount for me to bring others alongside with me – to introduce them to new people, resources and opportunities and then help them be successful."

Sheroes embrace themselves and others. "As an over-50, openly gay woman in business and tech, entreprenuer, mom, wife and now ‘granny,’ I'm able to bring the tapestry of me to the table, because others have stepped out in strength and demonstrated authenticity at work and in life," says Bates. "For me, a shero is someone who embraces all parts of themselves and encourages others to do the same, resulting in an experience where all feel valued."

Sheroes share. "As women in corporate America, we have to be each other’s biggest advocates and biggest fans," says Dudley. "Share in best practices you’ve learned, help educate other women on ways you’ve navigated through corporate America and help put them in a position that will develop their skill set … and continue to grow within leadership."

Sheroes empower others. "A shero empowers, encourages, advocates and mentors other women – especially younger women – who can all use a little praise, a little push and recognition," says Ramos. "She instills confidence in them, teaching them to never feel threatened or intimidated by another woman. She models how women can use each other's strengths to complement each other's weaknesses … and in that way, creates a pack of successful women leaders."  

Sheroes are there for each other. "It’s important to be there for other women because I am my sisters' keeper," says Young. "We live in a very competitive world; it’s our default at times. When you notice your barriers to success are similar to your sister's, you grow to understand that her success is your success because you’re making progress easier for each other – that’s where the magic happens."

In the headlines
  • Three women were honored at the sixth annual Inspiring Women of Iowa event. Krista Lindholm, owner and executive director of Assessment Services Inc. and Kä(l)m Therapy Group; Daira Driftmier, director of Hy-Vee KidsFit & Fitness; and Deshara Bohanna, founder and lead designer of Design Fetish by Deshara, were the recipients of the Courage, Confidence and Character awards, respectively.
  • Barbie is releasing a new set of dolls next month as part of its diversity and inclusion efforts. One of the dolls featured will have hearing aids – a first for the company.
  • The Taliban announced that women and girls are expected to stay home – and if they are to venture out, they must do so wearing loose clothing that only reveals their eyes – preferably a burqa. A U.N. agency has condemned the directive, saying it "contradicts numerous assurances" that the Taliban would respect the rights of Afghan women and girls.
  • The U.S. Senate confirmed economist Lisa Cook to serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, making her the first Black woman to do so.  
  • A new U.S. Census Bureau report showed the median age of U.S. women giving birth over the past three decades was age 30, the highest on record. Fertility rates declined by almost 43% for women between ages 20 and 24 and by more than 22% for women between 25 and 29. At the same time, they increased by more than 67% for women between 35 and 39, and by more than 132% for women between 40 and 44.
Worth checking out
Corporate America has little, if anything, to say about abortion (The 19th). Photographers capture their own experiences as mothers (CNN Health). How do people with disabilities feel about abortion? (19th News). What you need to know when you give birth in a country with rising maternal mortality rates (ProPublica). "We need to work on creating an environment where women don’t feel like they should hide their pregnancy from employers" (LinkedIn). Iowa is among the states running lowest on baby formula. These politicians are demanding action (Des Moines Register).

Resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
We’re midway through Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Take time to celebrate the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans by checking out the following links:

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