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Our Heritage

IndentIn its first Annual Report to the President in 1975, the Commission referred to the Colburn Report, 1971-72, written by the President’s Advisory Committee on Policies, Programs, and Services Affecting Women Students Faculty and Staff. The committee was chaired by Dr. Nancy H. Colburn of the Biology Department. The report stated that “the committee is in agreement that change must occur in order to eliminate University policies which discriminate against women.” The first chair of the Commission, appointed by President E. A. Trabant, was Mae R. Carter, program specialist in the Division of Continuing Education.
IndentDuring its early years, the Commission identified areas of concern and made recommendations to enhance the status of women and end discrimination. In 1974-75, a major accomplishment of the Commission was to hold open hearings on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to provide insight and to recognize some of the strengths and disparities currently within the University. HERS, a handbook for women, was published to provide resource information on people “to whom women could turn for advice, counsel, information and encouragement.” A comprehensive attitude survey was sent to all faculty, staff, and professional staff during the same year. Consciousness raising efforts included distribution of “The Reporter” to all University employees and targeted students and serving as a sounding board or ombudsperson for complaints.
IndentThe 1974-75 Commission concluded that many positive changes affecting the status of women occurred between 1972 and 1975. They included the hiring of an Affirmative Action Coordinator and the funding of a full-time faculty position in Women’s Studies. The Commission also addressed the need for a self-supporting full day care program for University employees and students, equalization of salaries, continued consciousness raising and assertiveness training, and problems and concerns of part-time employees. In 1978, the Office of Women’s Affairs was established with strong support from the Commission and the President.
IndentThe Commission has continued to issue an annual report to the President for the past 30 years. Many positive changes have occurred in the areas of hiring, promotion and tenure, family friendly policies, salary equity, support for women in sciences and engineering, and improved programs and services for all women employees and students. In 1987, the E. Arthur Trabant Institutional Award for Women’s Equity was established in honor of President Trabant’s strong commitment to equity for women and improving the UD climate for women. The award is given annually to any individual, department, administrative unit, or committee that has contributed to equity for women at the University. The Commission defines "contributions" broadly to encourage as wide a range of nominations as possible, but examples might include developing exemplary programs or curricula, implementing innovative policies and procedures related to women's equity, and enhancing existing services to women.
IndentAnnual reports to the President for the past 10 years may be viewed on this website. There is still more work to be done to continue to address issues including sexual harassment, subtle sex discrimination and biases, issues for minority women, violence and safety, and representation of women at all levels of the University. Input is always welcome from those who have a commitment to equity for women at the University.

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