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Rutgers SPAA Celebrates Women's History Month with a Discussion Among In-House Change Makers

SPAA's Women's History Month Panel Presentation 2021

In recognition of Women's History Month, the 15th anniversary of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, and the 75th anniversary of Rutgers University–Newark, SPAA faculty and students had a discussion around the topic of "Women in Power Positions: 2021 - Is the Glass Ceiling Breaking?" The panelists for the event included three SPAA faculty: Professor Ariane Chebel d'Appollonia, Associate Professor Lindsey McDougle, and Associate Professor Stephanie Newbold. The event was moderated by SPAA MPA students and SPAA Ambassadors Monica Bestos and Evawero French.

Among other topics, the panelists discussed their experiences in academia as students and faculty. Dr. Chebel d'Appollonia talked about how when she started as a student forty years ago, there was a 50-50 ratio of women to men in her bachelor's program, and then only one-third of the students in her master's program were women. In her PhD program, she was the only woman in the political science and philosophy program. “I was the only one to have a post-PhD degree, the only female part of the presidential board, and the only female to be associate dean, and the only female to direct a research center.” There has been progress, she said, with more female students and faculty now, but the number of women continues to decrease the higher the degree or professorship level.

Dr. McDougle talked about the disparities in research when it comes to gender issues, and how “there really isn’t a great deal of research, even in this field, that attempts to understand, solely, the role, importance, and the value that ‘womxn’ bring to the field.”

The panelists also talked about the importance of increasing the number of women in the field, especially in leadership roles, and how to increase the numbers in different ways. “Women bring a different perspective, a different viewpoint,” said Dr. Newbold, “and it would be really helpful in terms of leadership, in terms of government, in terms of organizational dynamics, to have women's voices in those particular areas.”

For more on celebrating SPAA's 15th anniversary: