OIST Launches Gender Equality Task Force

A new task force will address issues and implement changes with regard to gender equality at the university.

OIST has recently established a Gender Equality Task Force.  The purpose of the task force is to ensure that gender equality is part of the OIST philosophy.  The University has already established a statement of Core Values, part of which is, “the University promotes diversity and provides equal opportunities for all community members.”  The task force will ensure that this part of the Core Values are upheld and become standard practice at OIST.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Professor Gail Tripp and Vice President of Administrative Compliance Maki Kubo.  It is comprised of OIST Board of Governors members, administrators, faculty, researchers, students and staff.  OIST already has a Committee for Gender Equality, but a larger need was recognized and the Task Force was born.  The purpose of the Task Force is to, “ensure that the OIST philosophy of gender equality is realized,” says Professor Gail Tripp, Task Force Co-Chair. 

“We aspire to be a model of how a university can make the necessary changes to help all staff reach their potential by fostering an environment in which women can compete for equal opportunities.  We want gender equality to become part of the fabric of OIST,” Professor Tripp says.  Co-Chair Maki Kubo adds, “we’d like OIST to be a frontrunner in attracting female researchers and employees, which will make OIST attractive to all employees.”

There will be four working groups that will each address a different issue: recruitment and retention, quality of life, promotion practices for administrative staff and strategies to communicate the gender equality initiatives at OIST.  The task force will come up with a plan incorporating the goals of each working group and present it to the Board of Governors at their next meeting.

President Jonathan Dorfan told the task force, “It is to be hoped that the work of the Task Force will result in a powerful and practical set of strategies that will allow us to address the gender balance at OIST.  We will create the right supportive environment to make it a workplace of choice for women.  We need to make change because change won’t happen itself.”

Professor Tripp adds, “we are lucky because President Dorfan and the Board of Governors recognize we need to take the initiative to be a world class university that’s inclusive.” 

As OIST continues to grow, it is clear that careful attention is being paid to the manner in which it is growing.  This task force should help OIST become attractive to talented researchers of any gender and the policies it puts in place, as Professor Tripp says,  “will help bring the best and the brightest to come work here.”

By: Kathleen Estes

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