NORTH ADAMS — For the second year in a row, a report from the Eos Foundation examining gender equality in Massachusetts colleges and universities has identified Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) as the top four-year public institution among only 40 percent of schools to achieve gender equality.
The report, titled “Women’s Power Gap in Higher Education,” examines the percentage of women enrolled at all Massachusetts public and private schools alongside the percentage of female college presidents, senior leadership, and boards of trustees. Of 92 schools, only 37 were ranked as “satisfactory.”
Many of the schools ranked “satisfactory” are women’s colleges, former women’s colleges, or “special focus schools that educate students for professions that are dominated by women,” according to the report.
MCLA’s student enrollment is 62 percent women. The College’s highest salaried employees are 50 percent female; 50 percent of the College’s Board of Trustees are women, including the board chair; and MCLA counts two past female presidents.
At a time when, according to the National Science Foundation, women comprise only 21 percent of full professors in science fields, MCLA boasts a 60% female full-time tenure-track faculty in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and math.
In 2018, MCLA earned an “A” from the Tucker Center for Girls and Women in Sport for having 100 percent of its female teams led by women head coaches.
MCLA’s commitment to gender parity and general equity is well-documented — and doesn’t stop at equity for those who identify as women. In September 2018, a report from the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California (USC) identified MCLA as one of only three public colleges and universities in the United States with top marks for serving black students well.
Among student support services, the College has maintained the Susan B. Anthony Women’s Center for more than 20 years, in addition to the MCLA Identity and Gender Equality Resource Center and Multicultural Center. MCLA also has student-led Men of Color and Women of Color initiatives supported by faculty and staff advisors.
MCLA also offers an 18-credit Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor. Students working with volunteer services on campus volunteer and raise money for local women’s centers and other causes, and faculty, staff, and administrators help students mark important days of awareness such as Take Back the Night.
In September 2019, MCLA hosted its second Lavender Reception for student, staff and faculty who identify as LGBTQIA+. The College also holds regular Safe Zone training sessions, a program created by the Gay Alliance to develop, enhance and maintain campus communities and workplaces that are culturally competent and inclusive for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
The Eos Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by investing in children’s futures. You can read the full report at www.womenspowergap.org.