Does motherhood prepare women to be better leaders? University of Findlay President Katherine Fell, Ph.D., a mother of six, addressed that topic and others regarding women in higher education during presentation at the Findlay chapter of American Association of University Women’s Monday gathering at the Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion.
Using statistics from a variety of sources, as well as her own personal experiences, Fell highlighted UF’s women who serve in leadership positions, the common characteristics and skills of female university presidents, and even how UF is maintaining campus safety for both women and men.
Fell pointed out that women occupy several power positions on campus, ranging from her own job to program chairs. UF also employs a total of 335 women employees out of 563.
She used information from sources such as Dr. Susan Madsen, the Pew Research Center and LeanIn.org to illustrate public perceptions about female business leaders, and factors that are holding women back in terms of promotion and pay.
Some highlights according to studies and research:
- Many women who became university presidents were avid readers as children, competitive, and viewed challenges as personal growth opportunities.
- Once they became university presidents, skills those women acquired included thinking rationally about feedback and criticism given, and learning how to forgive.
- Women generally excel more at compromising while men are better at risk-taking.
Fell also provided information on The University of Findlay’s Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women grant. Totaling approximately $280,000, the funding was provided to train personnel and improve services to victims on campus, and to educate people on how to be proactive so that violence doesn’t occur.
So far, UF has:
- Trained Cosiano Health Center nurses to be certified sexual assault nurse examiners;
- Improved assault reporting methods by increasing awareness on how to report;
- Updated policies on how to respond to and investigate reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking;
- Conducted online and in-person training, and sponsored events for students, faculty and staff.
- Established an on-campus advocate for victims in partnership with Findlay’s Open Arms Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services.
The University has also developed a year-long plan for programming, called OC3 (for Oilers Changing Campus Culture), that will include activities, training and events to raise awareness about violence against women, bystander intervention, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
As part of OC3, UF will host a Men’s Night Out in November that will provide an opportunity for the men on campus to discuss healthy relationships and the reality of the college experience versus how it is portrayed in the media. In the spring, a speaker from the Step It Up bystander intervention program will speak, and will hold a “train the trainer” program for University members to continue after the grant expires.