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Established in 1981, the Commission for Women (CFW) serves as an advisory group to the President on the status of women at Penn State, advocates for women’s concerns, and recommends solutions.

Specifically, the Commission:

  • examines and makes recommendations about issues that affect women employees and students, including workplace and classroom climate; recruitment, advancement, and retention; mentoring; professional development; maternity and childcare policies; salary equity; work-life balance; and intercollegiate athletics;
  • collaborates with Penn State units, colleges, campuses, and organizations in support of gender equity initiatives; and
  • recognizes and celebrates contributions and achievements of women at Penn State.


Initiatives and Events

Status of Women at Penn State, 2001–2011 Report
This report presented a snapshot of key gender equity indicators by charting female concentration ratios. We have collected and analyzed data in cooperation with the Office of Institutional Planning and Assessment and its institutional research interest group. The report was published in spring of 2013.

Ad hoc Issues Committees
Three ad hoc committees are working on issues of importance to women at Penn State:

  • The Employment Issues committee is working to understand issues for staff regarding compensation, work-life policies, and advancement/professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
  • The Family Leave Issues committee is working on survey results related to maternity accommodation policies for graduate students and post-docs to determine needs related to consistent implementation.
  • The Personal Safety and Sexual Assault Awareness Issues committee is continuing work on developing peer facilitated dialogues on issues of gender relations and alcohol and has worked with some instructors to develop class projects on these issues. Last year this committee was also the locus of CFW’s collaboration with the Justice Center for Research to sponsor the Sexual Assault Conference held on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

Awards and Recognition
Annual recognition of seven Achieving Women awardees and one Rosemary Schraer Mentoring awardee was the highlight of the Commission’s spring luncheon that was held on Friday, April 7, 2017. More than 400 people attend this signature event. 

Professional Development

The Commission:

  • Hosts the CFW Mentoring Program, initiated in 1999, to connect women across all employment categories with University mentors. Twenty-one mentor/mentee pairs are in the program this year.
  • Collaborates with the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity and the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity on the symposium, “Equity and Inclusion: Successfully Navigating the Promotion and Tenure Process” to offer guidance to pre-tenure faculty who are women, persons of color, and/or LGBT across Penn State. This is scheduled for Friday, October 17, 2014.
  • Promotes improved communication and sharing of best leadership practices through a proactive Campus Liaison Program.
  • Partners with the Office of Human Resources Center for Workplace Learning and Performance to develop opportunities for personal and professional development.
  • Serves on the steering committee for the Administrative Fellows Program.