CGED 2018 Biennial Report Executive Summary

 

1. Responding to a call to review the status of women in the Faculty of Arts, Dean Derek Collins established the Gender Task Force in 2015. The purpose of the Gender Task Force was to identify the nature and scope of gender imbalances in the Faculty and propose remedies. It produced a list of recommendations addressing key issues of recruitment, promotion, tenure, retention, sexual harassment, gender bias in curriculum, teaching and research, as well as women’s access to leadership opportunities. One of the principal recommendations was the establishment of a standing committee to continue as well as expand on this work.

 

2. Beginning in 2016, the Committee on Gender Equality and Diversity (CGED) took up the challenge to document the progress made toward the goals outlined in the GTF action plan. The CGED, in fact, has an expanded remit to include undergraduate, research postgraduate, and taught postgraduate student representatives as well as non-academic staff members. Moving beyond the initial focus on gender, the CGED also takes up questions of diversity broadly defined to promote a more inclusive environment within the faculty.

 

3. In addition to elected members from each school, the CGED includes coopted members with particular expertise in gender and diversity research, teaching, and/or service. The CGED oversees the implementation of recommendations made by the GTF, collects evidence of the impact of policy changes, liaises with individuals and organizations across campus with similar goals, and continues to advocate for greater gender equality and diversity on campus and beyond. The CGED nurtures a supportive research culture for work on gender and diversity in Asia as well as publicizes the cutting-edge scholarship members of our faculty do in key fields such as literature, film, music, visual culture, fine arts, language and linguistics, history, and related area studies involving women, feminism, gender and diversity studies in

the Chinese-speaking world and beyond. We have documented our strengths in emerging fields involving Asian masculinity, Chinese queer studies, Sinophone women artists, filmmakers and authors, as well as the scholarship of intersectionality and feminism in Asia.

 

4. Over the past two years, the CGED has responded to the needs of stakeholders in the faculty by carrying out the recommendations of the GTF. While several points go beyond the scope of what the Faculty of Arts can accomplish, the CGED has made progress in positioning the faculty as a leader on campus in advancing gender equality and diversity. We have demonstrated progress in the gender composition of search committees, for example, as well as some positive changes in gender balance in hiring and promotion. Inspired by HeForShe, #MeToo, and other global initiatives to end discrimination against women, individual faculty members have modified their curricular offerings, pedagogical practices, and research agendas. The establishment of the Gender Studies program has given us a focal point for these efforts that brings together staff and students to further the goals of the CGED.

 

5. This report brings together information on the progress the faculty has made in policies concerning academic staff appointments and advancement, procedures dealing with sexual harassment, climate in the units, curricular reform, and student initiatives involving gender and diversity. It includes evidence of the impact the CGED has had as well as recommendations that will bring us closer to our goal of eliminating bias and creating a genuinely inclusive environment for all.

 

6. CGED Impact

 

a. Hiring, advancement, and retention—Improved representation of women on key committees, more women in key leadership positions, and improvement in promotions for women.

 

b. Establishment of Gender Studies program with major, minor, and hiring of tenure-track faculty member as director and key teacher as well as a clerk for administrative support.

 

c. Successful launch of the CGED seminar and workshop series including workshops on feminist pedagogy and the status of women in higher education.

 

d. Inaugural survey of research on gender and diversity in the faculty documenting key areas of excellence in scholarship on women, feminism, and LGBTQ communities in Asia.

 

e. CGED involvement in orientation for new students and faculty with an emphasis on ways to become more involved in gender and diversity initiatives on campus, guidelines for conducting research sensitive to gender and diversity issues, and information on sexual harassment policies and resources.

 

f. Inaugural Gender and Diversity student forum dedicated to opening communication with students on gender and diversity issues.

 

g. Faculty of Arts involvement in creating inclusive language guidelines, creating a Gender Studies MOOC, and in the P-SHOCs training program for the entire university.

 

h. Creation of a CGED webpage with news, faculty profiles, bibliographies, student activities, and links to other resources.

 

i. Co-sponsored activities with HeForShe, WSRC, and other campus groups.

 

j. Advocacy for progressive change of university policies (e.g., on parental leave for RPG students).

 

k. Joint activities with off-campus organizations including the International Baccalaureate (IB) Student Conference, Barclays Bank, among others.

 

7. Recommendations for Further Action

 

a. Improvement in policies involving promotion and tenure within the faculty.

 

b. Expansion of the CGED to include more than one non-academic staff member—ideally one from each school.

 

c. More systematic training for faculty on pedagogy, research practices, supervision, and ethics, sexual harassment and unconscious bias.

 

d. Overhaul of family/parental leave policies.

 

e. Clarification of avenues open for advancement to categories of staff dominated by women, including lecturers, non-academic staff, adjunct and temporary appointments

 

f. Facilities—family friendly and gender neutral restrooms.

 

g. Expand inventory of research conducted in the faculty to include RPG and TPG theses and dissertations on gender and diversity.

 

h. Institute bi-annual reports to monitor progress.

 

The complete report is available upon request. Please contact artscged@hku.hk for enquiries.