Dean's Message

Ensuring women thrive at ASU

women's history month history resources leadership professional development
By Elizabeth Wentz and Erin Carr-Jordan on March 25, 2021

Women’s History Month provides a fantastic opportunity to look at historic women and discuss what we can learn from them and how we can view them as role models. Our role models continue to be the women who “lean in,” who are ambitious and bold. They are the women who push back against systemic biases in the workplace – showing us that it isn’t about fixing women, but fixing the systems that continually hold women back.

Across the university, at every role and rank, dedicated people are focused on ensuring that women in academia thrive and are prepared to be leaders in every sector. Many of these efforts are coordinated through the Office of Inclusion and Community Engagement, led by Vice Provost Tiffany Lopez. By implementing university-wide training to increase awareness of harmful biases and launching justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) programs at every campus, in each school and in all departments, ASU is increasing leadership opportunities for women at all career stages. Engaging men in these efforts is tremendously important and the launch of male ally groups like ASU ADVANCE Allies significantly helps the university to advance its goals.

Merging our thought leadership and adopting best practices for women’s empowerment not only positions ASU as a champion of equity and women’s leadership but also leverages the strengths of the institution to contribute to advancing women’s leadership in every sector and around the world.

Despite significant advances, more can be done at ASU and in higher education to equitably position women to lead. Academic administration and leadership continue to be disproportionately composed of men. It takes women longer to become full professors and women, regardless of rank, do more service than their male counterparts. 

Envisioning a future where women lead at every level of the institution means we have to be honest about where we are and what improvements need to be made. ASU has identified several levers for change--increasing access to leadership development programs, to communities of practice, to mentoring opportunities, and to leadership pathways are crucial. 

The tone from the top sets the stage and must convey that women’s leadership is a top priority. It’s also key to create targets and indicators associated with gender equality and women’s leadership, track those data, and address persisting inequitable policies and protocols.

In addition to the tone and commitment from the top, we need consistent strategic efforts and shared accountability in order to develop, recruit, retain and support women leaders. The following list includes just some of the programs and initiatives at ASU that are doing this work. These programs distinguish us nationally and demonstrate our efforts to live by our charter and distinguish ourselves nationally. 

  1. ASU’s parental leave policy and tenure clock extension

  2. UDI training and development

  3. Leadership Academy and the Advanced Leadership Initiative

  4. Faculty Women’s Association


  6. AAAS SEA Change 

  7. ASU Male Allies

  8. Faculty Women of Color Caucus (FWOCC)

  9. College of Research and Evaluation Services Team (CREST)

  10. Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST)

  11. Sustainable Development Goal 5 Task Force, an ASU - World Bank partnership

    1. SDG5 -
    2. SDG5 -
  12. PLuS Alliance Transforming Women’s Leadership Pathways 

  13. Plus Alliance Transforming Women’s Leadership Alliance

  14. WE Empower Challenge 

  15. Thunderbird for Good

  16. Student led-organizations/groups such as the Women’s Coalition 

  17. Commission on The Status of Women 

  18. Office of Inclusion and Community Engagement