Fighting for women's equity
GVSU Women's Commission promotes female leadership
Walking around Grand Valley State University’s campus, it is easy to see that women have the
upperhand in the student body ratio. Women leaders on campus, however, are working to create
opportunities for females to be notable for more than just quantity. Since 1996, the GVSU Women’s
Commission has been committed to promoting gender equity, social justice and celebration of
“The group is important because we work with others in the university community who care about
gender equity by influencing and developing programs and policies that improve the quality of life
for women on campus,” said Dauvan Mulally, co-chair of the Women’s Commission leadership
In 1994, a climate study showed that many of the female faculty and staff on campus were not
satisfied with current conditions. Following the study, the women’s salary structure was adjusted,
and the Women’s Commission formed two years later. The group has a strong history of working
on various projects that helped improve the quality of life for women on campus, and it has
become a mentoring service for students. Accomplishments include the following:
•The commission played a vital role in the hiring the Vice President for Planning and Equity, Pat
Oldt, in 2000.
•In 1999, a task force was formed to examine the viability of creating a women’s center on campus.
The Women’s Center opened in 2001 and has been a collaborative partner of the Women’s
Commission since its inception.
•In 2002, the commission worked with the Women’s Center in co-sponsoring the Her Story series,
which highlights women in leadership positions within the university and how they were motivated
to get there. Since this time, 32 women leaders from across the university have been highlighted.
•In 2005, the commission partnered with Positive Black Women and the Women’s Center to host
monthly Fireside Chats, which provide a safe environment for diverse women and promote the
oneness of women from all cultures so that women across campus can gain a better understanding
of one another.
•In 2009, the commission celebrated the success of two of its subcommittee initiatives: the
creation of flexible scheduling options and the creation of the career coaching position.
•The commission partnered with Human Resources and the AP Development Committee to open
the Excellence Series to all employee groups on campus.
“The Women’s Commission continually emphasizes the importance of connecting with others on
campus and finding mentors,” Mullaly said. “The Fireside Chats and Her Story are certainly
opportunities when this could happen, and we would encourage any attendee to reach out to the
speaker should they want to engage in further dialogue.”
On Thursday, the Women’s Commission will be hosting its Fall Welcome Back Reception. The group
takes this opportunity to inform the GVSU community about its history and goals for the upcoming
year. Keynote speaker Marlene Kowalski-Braun, the vice provost in the Dean of Students Office, will
be kicking off the series of speakers to come. The event will take place in the Pere Marquette Room
in the Kirkhof Center. To RSVP, visit the group’s website at www.gvsu.edu/wcommission.