Table of Contents
- So, how'd this get started? What are the goals? Can I join?
- Why the seminar and speaker series?
- Why do we take Daughter's and Sons to work?
- Why should I come to a potluck supper? What if I can't cook? Can I bring my kids?
- Who's in charge?
- When did women become part of the student body and faculty ranks? How many women are on the faculty?
- What's with the signs in the Women's bathrooms? (Umm, where are those bathrooms? Which are single stall? Which are big enough for my stroller, walker, wheelchair?)
- Is ESF breastfeeding friendly? (Where's that nursing room?!)
- Any suggestions for:
- Congrats on the reaching no. 3 for women in science?
- Is the pay gap thing true?
Have you ever noticed that its perfectly OK for the guys to get together and talk shop, or shoot the breeze, or any combination thereof? Shouldn't women be afforded the benefits of bouncing ideas around, too?
The ESF Women's Caucus was formed by a group of ESF students, staff, and faculty who wanted that same opportunity to work and socialize with colleagues. The first meeting convened November 17, 1994 as a brown-bag lunch discussion.
This particular Caucus is non-partisan. It aims to raise consciousness about women's concerns, to work for change to improve the climate for women at ESF, to foster community, and to serve as a respectful forum for diverse ideas.
Our goals are to increase the number of women students and faculty at ESF, find ways for women to better communicate and coordinate or sponsor activities that benefit them, and improve services for all ESF families.
Any woman student (undergraduate or graduate), staff or faculty member, including any woman that is at ESF part-time, can join the Women's Caucus. Alumnae and Emeritae are also welcome.
Because of the small number of women faculty at ESF, the series provides mentoring opportunities for students, both female and male, who have little regular exposure to female role models. Bringing these professionals to campus as seminar speakers helps women and men in all stages of their careers expand their vision of the roles of women in professional fields. Speakers meet with classes, clubs, and individual undergraduate and graduate students seeking advice about careers they may never have pictured for themselves. A small group of students has an added challenge and opportunity: students from the associated 1-credit seminar (FOR 797-2/496-10) are charged with coordinating these meetings during each speaker's stay. The speaker also meets with class members discuss her experiences with the roles and topics of the course.
There aren't enough women that have been here long enough to form an "Old Girl's Club" at ESF--or at SU and Upstate either. The speaker series serves as chance for ESF women to develop a network with interested and interesting women across campus and the University Hill as well as around the country.
The Daughter's only program was launched in 1993 by the Ms. Foundation as a response to studies by Harvard University, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Minnesota Women's Fund, which indicate that a girl's self esteem and confidence in intellectual development plummet as they advance toward adolescence. In recent years, the program has expanded to encompass the boys who will become the partners, coworkers, and friends of the women of the future. Visit our Kids Day page for the whole story, and more about national efforts and our own program.
Sometimes it seems like there are actually miles between the different departments, but the Main Campus in Syracuse is really quite small, and it would be nice to know some friendly people in every building. We share summaries electronically, so those that cannot make it can peruse the highlights. Its quite nice when we can coordinate ways for those at our remote campuses (especially the Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb, NY, and the NYS Ranger School, in Wanakena, NY) to visit or participate electronically.
If you can't/didn't have time to cook or pick something up, bring a few dollars. We will arrange for take-out or delivery from a local restaurant. This practice started in the early years of the Caucus, when several people found themselves huddled around a vending machine looking for potential items at the last minute. They opted to pool their funds and order a pizza. If you know of quick, tasty, inexpensive places that can accommodate some dietary restrictions, please send your recommendations our way!
Adequate, affordable childcare is an issue affecting many families on campus, so we invite you to bring your kids along to all of our programs. They do a great job of entertaining one another!
In general, the Women's Caucus is non-hierarchical. There are no officers and decisions are made by consensus. However, we do have a program coordinator (Heather, firstname.lastname@example.org, 315-470-4752), guided by steering and advisory committees, and a few other individuals who serve as leads on individual projects.
ESF began as an all male college in 1911, and there were few women students during the early decades. There was only one woman enrolled, for one academic year (1915-16) until 1938, when another began (but did not complete) a graduate program. It was not until the late 1940s until the first 3 women graduated: Ruth Warret (Landscape Architecture) and Barbara Jane Hennessey (Pulp and Paper) were the very first women graduates in 1947; Mildred Kocic (Pulp and Paper) followed in 1948.
"By 1969, women numbered only 73 out of 1300 enrolled...as the College's work expanded in research fields such as biology, biochemistry and paper fiber technology, so did its appeal to a wider student base. Job opportunities in related industries also began to expand for women by the late 1960s. In 1967, the first female completed the timberland management curriculum, and the phrase 'lumberjills' appeared in the press. Traditions were beginning to fall, but it would take a few more years for true gender equality to spread throughout the college.
"The early 1970s saw the first female trustees appointed to the board. The first woman graduated from the Ranger School in 1974. ... A woman's [Woodman] team was begun in 1973 and won an international competition in 1975. And by 1974, an affirmative action program was underway at ESF to increase minority recruitment. In 2011, 40% of the 2,200 enrolled students are female." (transcribed 12 Sept 2011 from Centennial signage posted in Moon Library). Also of note, it wasn't until 1986 until a woman chaired Faculty Governance (Betsy Elkins) or GSA (Ann Moore).
Even through the early 90s, there were very few women professors:
- Dr. Chun-Juan "June" Wang, who was hired as a non-tenure track Research Associate, Environmental and Forest Biology, in 1959. She advanced through various grades to become one of ESF's first women Professors in 1972 and earn the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990. She "retired" in 1998, but has maintained an active research program.
- Dr. Deborah Hill, School of Forestry 1979. Dr. Hill wasn't at ESF long. She has since been a Fulbright Scholar, and is now Extension Faculty Emeritus, University of Kentucky Forestry.
- Prof Kathy Stribley joined the School of Landscape Architecture in 1981, and retired as Professor at the end of 2010
- Dr. Maggie Shannon, Department of Forestry, 1986-92
- Prof. Cheryl Doble joined LA in 1987; she retired as an Associate Professor in 2011
- Prof Sally Webster taught computing classes as part of the Faculty of Environmental Studies from 1990-2000. She retired as an Associate Professor.
- In 1993, Dr. Brenda Nordenstam (currently on medical leave) and Dr. Sue Senecah (now retired) joined Environmental Studies; Dr. Robin Kimmerer EFB.
- In 1994, Dr. Parto (Partow) Pakdel joined Paper Science Engineering (until 1996; she's now with SINTEF, in Oslow, researching thin film and membrane technology) and Drs. Ruth Yanai and Valerie Luzadis joined the Faculty of Forestry. Luzadis and Yanai eventually became full Professors in the renamed Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management. Luzadis went on to chair the Department of Environmental Studies (interim in 2010; on a substantive basis 2011-2015), Interim Provost and Executive VP (2015-2017) and then Senior Advisor to the President. And from 2011 to 2015, Yanai directed the Graduate Program in Environmental Science, but remained in FNRM.
- ESF welcomed its first female department head in 2008--Susan Anagnost, in the now dissolved Department of Sustainable Construction Management. Dr. Anagnost was promoted from within the campus community; she is now in the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering.
- There were women faculty in every academic department as of 2008. Click here (PDF) for a breakdown by discipline (2018).
(P.S. Thank you, Flora Nyland, College Archivist Emerita, and Marcia Barber and Tim Blehar, Director and Assistant Director of Human Resources, for their help compiling names and dates.)
What's with the signs in the bathrooms? (Umm, where are those bathrooms? Where are the single stall ones? Are any of those bathroom stalls big enough for me to get in with my stroller, walker or wheelchair?)
Every women's and Gender Inclusive (aka all-gender or unisex) bathroom on the main campus (except in Centen) should have an acrylic holder by the sinks, paper towel dispensers or the door specifically for announcing Women's Caucus events. Each holder should also have a little label that directs you to this website (if either the holder, or its label is missing, please let Heather know)
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. The foremothers of the ESF Women's Caucus realized that quite a few staff and grad students spend the bulk of the day, every day, in their individual offices or labs, unless they, like their undergrads, were rushing between classes and meetings. Something would need to be on every bulletin board on campus for every woman to have an opportunity to see one (assuming it hasn't already been covered by some other flier). However, it was a safe bet that every woman on campus will visit a lavatory sooner or later. So, by placing more strategically, they could reach the target audience with only a handful of fliers.
Fliers were previously taped to walls, and then affixed to some surfaces with magnets, until we came to an agreement in 2003 with the former VP of Administration and Director of Physical Plant. We purchased 20 holders, which Physical Plant installed, for our use to prevent the tape residue and water splashed fliers that really weren't fair to those that try hard to keep those areas clean--additional holders have been added as more bathrooms came on line or converted to women's or all-gender restrooms. Fliers stay up, and stay looking nice, much longer now, so whenever we can, we can announce multiple events on single fliers, saving us more time and paper. In a world with push notifications for everything, simple signs like these seem outmoded, but because of that potential for information overload via every device, the simple signs are effective reminders.
We respectfully ask that if you see something of interest, you jot it or our URL down (or take a picture of it) rather than taking the flier.
If you have an upcoming event or an ongoing program that are consistent with the mission, please contact Heather about sharing space on the fliers. If there are not upcoming (including recurring) events, others are welcome to use the holders.
Where are those bathrooms? Which has .....? Once we made the bathroom list available, it made sense to add which ones had "amenities" that users might need, like single stall, assistive doors, changing table (only one, in the basement of Gateway Center), or a shower (Illick 2nd floor), as well as adding the nursing room (see below), not because we intend to refer Moms to bathrooms to nurse (Never, ever send a mom to a bathroom to nurse!) but because Moms are busy, and having all those resources on one page is easier--they already need to visit multiple buildings to use the amenities, they don't need to search multiple pages as well.
ESF had a dearth of female faculty and low percentages of women students while most of our buildings were under construction and built to the codes of those times. Therefore, while the number of women, including transwomen, have increased exponentially, the number of "water closets" available to them have only increased with new construction (Jahn, Gateway, Centennial Hall) or significant renovations (Moon in 90s, Baker more recently). Single-stall women's rooms were carved out of men's rooms in Marshall and Bray ca 90s. Illick and Marshall in particular house academic departments with near gender parity, but very few stalls to accommodate the large numbers of users until their next renovations, and therefore bathroom breaks might take a while to accommodate the whole line, or allow users to visit facilities on other floors or in neighboring buildings. (We supported Academic Governance's Resolution on Bathroom Equity on ESF's main campus and appreciate the conversion of some men's rooms to women's rooms, and redesignation of single stall facilities to "all gender" ones, as well as ongoing work to add more gender inclusive and accessible facilities). Read more about those redesignations-HERE.
Quite a few ESF labs occur out-of-doors. Please build in "bathroom" stops on your routes. Choose areas with adequate non-poisonous vegetation to allow some modesty screening for participants to relieve themselves. Please note that if anatomy and necessary biological function do not allow simply turning one's back for this, the farther away someone might need to go before finding dense enough screening to even begin their business, and the longer it will take to sufficiently dis- and re-robe. Some individuals may also need breaks to change sanitary supplies or express breastmilk, especially if a trip is longer than usual.
Therefore, before the group continues, please confirm that everyone has returned to a central spot. Under heat and/or exertion, additional stops may be warranted as everyone should be drinking more.
Failure to take bathroom or pumping breaks often leads to serious health ramifications (bladder distention or infection; dehydration; engorgement or mastitis; Toxic Shock Syndrome)--and students (or others on the down-side of a power differential) tend to chose these avoidable issues over the embarrassment of repeatedly requesting accommodations.
ESF Lactation Room: 313 Baker Lab
SU's lactation rooms: see Map
Although lots of ESF kids are nursed, neither ESF nor SUNY have lactation policies in place for employees or students-- it is not addressed in the college's sexual harassment policy, or student, graduate student, or employee handbooks. As such, we did not have an official "lactation" or "mother's" room until July 23, 2013--you may now find it in 313 Baker, with renovations completed over the fall semester. Thanks are due to: Computing and Network Services next door for the more comfortable, easier to clean chair: Physical Plant giving up the room, and for the structural renovations (finishing the walls, replacing the original floor basin with a counter and sink, additional outlet, installing a mirror for checking that all buttons have been refastened); Tim Blehar, HR, for shepherding the upgrades; and the VP for Administration for authorizing the work.
How do we fit into the bigger picture?
New York is among the states that have laws that
specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private
location, and that exempt breastfeeding from public indecency
Employees have had ample legal support. A 2007 NYS law (see PDF) requires employers to provide new mothers with a private space to either express milk or breast feed for three years after child birth. Employers are also required to give mothers the time to either express or breast feed. The company does not have to pay the mother for that time (but they also cannot dock her if she can use scheduled breaks or otherwise makes up the time; see PDF). A 2010 federal law states that the employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public for the employee to express breast milk for the child's first year. If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs fewer than 50 employees is not subject to these requirement.
Putting this into practice was another matter, however. If you were able to schedule when a child could be brought to you to nurse, you were, and remain, free to use almost any place on campus (there are some labs that no one should be eating in; and that should go double for our babes! This is true for the bathrooms!). For those lucky enough to have private offices (ie., faculty) pumping could and can still be done in the privacy of your office. The rest of us had to be more creative, and were only successful if we had supportive (vs barely tolerant) colleagues. .And effective, July 23, 2013, 313 Baker Lab (near the freight elevator) is a designated room for nursing moms.
According to Tim Blehar, the door should remain unlocked except when in use, so moms do not have to reserve it to nurse, pump, or clean their pumps. HR assures us that the room is available to student and visiting mothers, too.
Syracuse University has also created a series of Lactation Rooms across campus, which have been mapped by Syr Grad Students with Children. See also https://hr.syr.edu/work-life-benefits-and-resources/raising-a-family/lactation-support for locations and links explaining who to contact for each space, and to access those additional resources.
On a related note, the Gateway Building was designed with a family restroom (i.e. large enough for a family member to accompany any person requiring assistance and with room for the individuals wheelchair or other mobility device, including a stroller) with a changing table in its basement.
We still have a way to go to develop policies that support all parents, including flextime and part-time options, but its good to know that we have support for moms at so many levels of the administration. That said, additional Lactation Rooms across campus would be a lot more accessible for administrative staff--especially in the winter.
Please note that while the nursing room appears on the "Locations of Women’s and Gender Inclusive/All-Gender Bathrooms", mothers should NEVER be referred to a bathroom to pump or nurse.
Oh, goodness-the best solution is to culture a climate where balanced lives are expected for every person. Until our society reaches that level of enlightenment, this will remain a popular topic for our potluck dinners, brown-bag lunches (summaries) and a query of every speaker in the Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Speaker Series (want to participate? Enroll in the Perspectives on Career and Gender Seminar, look for it each Spring as FOR797/FOR 496). If there is specific aspect that you would like to discuss, we would love to feature at an upcoming program-- please contact Heather email@example.com .
The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity is working up webpages with guidance on childcare, leaves, etc, to assist new parents and those that work with them.
ESF missed the window when the state offered subsidies to develop on-site day care programs (ESF did seem landlocked for a long time, so we'd hoped this was an iissue of "where the heck could we put it", but it seems to be "nah, we don't need one" then no, "we can't afford one"--but the need persists). There had been arrangements in place for ESF employees and students to use SU's Early Education and Child Care Center, but this ceased in 2013. Privately owned Childtime on Genesee St shuttered in early 2019. We may still use SU's Bernice Wright Child Development Laboratory School (2yrs old through preschool), Upstate Medical University's Sarah Loguen Center, and The Children's Learning Center at OCC, on a space available basis. All have waiting lists, but also have excellent reputations so its worth inquiring and having your name added to those lists! For these and other sites, search databases from the state (two links, one to regulated childcare and the other to a list of sites subject to enforcement action) as well as their local contractee Childcare Solutions. Anecdotally, the Early Childhood Development Program, Rothchild Early Childhood Center, and The Growing Place (at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist church) are all popular centers, although they all have limited space for infants. Jowonio pre-School also come well recommended. The Salvation Army's licensed group centers are also close to campus.
Grad Student parents should also reach out to GSO's Childcare Task Force as they are compiling information and resources on that site.
If you need help on superintendent, teacher conferences days, school breaks and snowdays--check with facilities that provide after school care in your district. These may be at the school, YWCA/YMCA, JCC, or in conjunction with organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs or privately run.
In the olden days, one parent was always available to stay home, and/or a grandparent was close by to assist. Nowadays, there a number of single parent households (or households split across great distances), both members of a dual career couple may need to attend the same meeting, an infant might not take a bottle, or Grandparent may be the one who needs care in your absence. If this describes you, a limiting factor in determining which conferences to attend (or which partner can attend this one): can I obtain reliable child- or elder-care in my absence? If you are lucky, the conference organizers have put some thought into this for you (and also have arranged a clean, comfortable convenient lactation space). For instance, the Ecological Society of America partners with local agencies for child care (6 mo-8 yr) or summer camp programs (8-12 yrs) on site during its annual meeting each August.
Even if child care options are in place, participants may need to bring someone (often a retired parent) to offer care for younger infants during the meeting--this arrangement definitely facilitates nursing. But, the costs of the formal programs, or the airfare and meal costs for childcare providers on site or at home can be prohibitive.
Parents of school age children that travel during the school year might find it better to arrange for someone to stay with their children at their home, or for their children to stay with friends or family in their districts.
There are a few funds to offset the costs of registration fees, airfare and hotel costs, so that your personal dollars can stretch further on care. Graduate students should ask their major professors if they have funds available to support the traditional participant costs (this is often written into the grants supporting the research in the first place!), and apply for "Travel Reimbursement Grants" through the Graduate Student Association. Faculty may inquire about departmental funds, and submit "Individual Development Award" applications to HR as per directions received by the UUP on-campus union representative. In past years, the Research Office has offered "travel grants" based on level of participation at meetings, opportunities for recruitment, etc--and hopefully they will be able to offer these again in the future. Faculty may also use their "Individual Research Incentive" accounts for expenses that are not allowed under their competitive grants, but since the amount each researcher receives for this is based upon the grant income that researcher brings in, new faculty might not have enough accumulated for this purpose.
If you are looking for someone to stay in your home with your kids, to water your finicky plants, or to check on your beloved pet and administer its medications--ask the office of Financial Aid to list a position, and send an email to the esfwomen listserv for recommendations.
A Participant Support Fund is among the item's on the Women's Caucus wishlist--if you know of grants supportive of that goal, let us know. The National Science Foundation announced a new Career-Life Balance (CLB) Initiative in 2011 which might help pave the way.
In January 2011, the Office of Communications announced that Forbes.com ranked ESF No. 3 on its 2010 list of best colleges for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Are congratulations in order? Maybe. But also note that colleges were ranked solely on a percentage basis on "how closely they approached an ideal where STEM classrooms look like the school overall." It is distinctly possible that because of the nature of ESF's specialized programs, more classes than usual could qualify as STEM, and inflate the numerator in that equation. This is speculation, of course--but we aren't ready to start dismantling programs that benefit STEM women (like the Women's Caucus, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs) just yet. The following year, Playboy rated ESF as the country's overall worst party school (Sept 2012), citing our excellent science program and our student's focus, but also knocking ESF's anonymity in Syracuse despite those features, and the scarcity of "gorgeous girls." They conceded, however, that in little time out of school, ESF alumni would be in leadership positions (i.e., "in 10 years you'll likely be calling an ESF grad 'sir'"--we won't hazard a guess on their opinion of our alumnae).
A SUNY-wide report in 1993 revealed that across the system, only 27% of full professors were women and that salary disparities were significant even after controlling for years of experience and discipline; SUNY ESF was noted for its "unusual dearth of women faculty" (Haignere 1993, cited by Frenette 1999). A follow up report only looked at seven campuses, but found that academic females were still paid less than males at statistically significant levels, and compression is affecting salaries across the seven SUNY institutions they sampled (Burke and Dangler 2009).
Research released in April 2007 by AAUW shows that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens. Their 2012 update shows very little improvement., and clarifies that the gap is apparent before marriage and children and after controlling for college major, hours of work, and occupation. And over a career, that difference adds up, and significantly impacts retirement plan contributions. In 2017, UUP provided testimony to SUNY regarding salary descrepancies.
There are quite a few that will argue that women just don't negotiate as well as men; there is truth to this. And also that this is because women have learned that [white] men that ask for better salaries are perceived as go-getters; women are pushy (or worse) and people of color are also perceived negatively. And women of color, the most so.
Syracuse University recently (April 2018) found disparity in salaries; ESF's salaries are slated for review. In December 2018, UUP chapters were asked to postpone review of salary equity issues until UUP and and SUNY develop guidelines for such review to ensure both equity and compression are addressed.