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PACW's 2007 Report on Women at UW

Executive Summary

This report aimed to describe the women who study and work at the University of Washington (UW). While the statistics we present are available in multiple separate locations within the UW, this report gathers these various statistics into one focused summary. We did not collect any new data for this report to provide the intended overview of women at the UW. While the report describes job and student categories, many other differences in age, race, ethnicity, income, education, and perspectives are not fully represented here. The report offers a baseline set of data about UW women from which future reports can be developed.

What the Data Say
Data are organized into six sections: Students, Faculty, Staff, Administration, Athletics, and Crime. The report is based on data from 2005-07. The following are the key findings from each section.

  • Students. Women are widely represented among the students of the UW. Over half of the undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the UW in Fall 2006 were women, representing 56% of the undergraduate students at UW Bothell, 52% of the undergraduate students at UW Seattle, and 60% of the undergraduate students at UW Tacoma, and 55% of the students enrolled in the Graduate School (representing all UW campuses).

    Women earned the majority of Bachelor’s degrees, though the proportion of women earning degrees in various disciplines varied widely. For example, at UW Seattle, 90% of bachelor’s degrees in nursing and 76% of bachelor’s degrees in public health and community medicine were awarded to women, while 18% of bachelor’s degrees in both the Information School and Engineering were awarded to women. Women also earned the majority of Master’s degrees, 65% of those awarded at UW Bothell, 55% of those awarded at UW Seattle, and 71% of those awarded at UW Tacoma. Women were awarded 47% of the PhDs, 58% of JDs (Law), 60% of MDs (Medicine), and 42% of DDs (Dentistry). We found similar variation in degrees awarded to women in various fields.

  • Staff. Women represented 68% of the Classified staff and 58% of the Professional staff.

    Among Classified staff, all job categories that employed at least 100 women included at least 40% women; the highest percentage of women was employed as professional nurses (85% of 2294 employees) and as medical clerical workers (83% of 1015 employees), and the lowest percentage was employed as service workers in building and grounds (44% of 798).

    The category employing the highest percentage of women professional staff is Principal Assistants (91%), while the category employing the lowest percentage is Computer Specialists (25%). Professional staff women are overrepresented (72%) among the lower pay grades (grades 5-7) and underrepresented (38%) among the higher pay grades (grades 11-14).

  • Faculty and Academic Personnel. Women comprise 44% of all faculty at UW Bothell, 41% at UW Seattle, and 51% at UW Tacoma. At UW Seattle, women tend to account for a higher percentage of non-ladder faculty and a lower percentage of ladder faculty; also a higher percentage of women are represented among the assistant professor (47%) than the professor (23%) ranks. Women represent 56% of the non-ladder faculty, 49% of the temporary teaching faculty, and 41% of the research faculty. Among academic personnel, the highest percentage of women in any job grouping is among librarians: 74% of the 150 librarians are women. Within the schools and colleges of UW Seattle, the highest percentage of women faculty are found in the School of Nursing and the lowest percentage (20%) are in the College of Engineering.

  • University Administration. Women are strongly represented among the UW central administration. Among the Vice President and Vice Provost positions, 5 of 9 Vice Presidents and 6 of 12 Vice Provosts are women; the Provost and the Executive Vice Provost are women. Of the four Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, three are women. Women are less well represented among the UW Seattle Deans and Department chairs; 8 of 18 deans and 11 of 106 department chairs are women.

  • Athletics. 2.3% of women undergraduates participate in intercollegiate athletics, and they represent 49% of all student athletes at UW. There are 10 women’s teams; the majority of women (43%) participate in crew. Women receive 45% of athletically-related student aid. Women are less well represented among the coaching staff, comprising 31% of the head coaches (all for women’s teams) and 25% of the assistant coaches.

  • Crime. The UW Police Department currently has 45 police officers, 9 (20%) of whom are women; this is substantially higher than the national average of 12% women police officers. The current Chief of UW Police is also a woman. From January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006, there were 858 victims of major (Level I) crimes; 37% were women, with larceny (43%) and assault (41%) as crimes with the highest percentage of women victims. Women were rarely perpetrators of major crimes with only 5 females arrested.

A review of these data suggests that women are a fundamental part of this University, representing sizeable proportions of students, staff, and faculty. Their presence varies by discipline, faculty rank, and staff pay grade. This variation suggests that there remains work to be done to assure that the pipeline of women who enter the university as undergraduate students have equal access to education in all disciplines and opportunity for career advancement in all disciplines and job types. Across the many types of classified staff positions, the percentages of women are relatively uniform. However, gender disparity exists in several academic fields, with women overrepresented in some and underrepresented in others. Women can be found in the highest levels of University administration, but remain notably absent as chairs of departments where they could have direct influence on the faculty and students in various fields.


  • While this report is limited to broad descriptive categories, it represents a beginning examination of women at the University of Washington. It has value as a baseline for future reports and action. We recommend that this report be widely distributed through multiple venues (print and electronic) to key audiences for information, reflection, and goal setting. We further recommend that PACW facilitate a meeting of UW committees and groups concerned with women’s issues to develop an agenda for women at the UW based on their respective responsibilities and the data from this report.

  • The value of this report will be in how well it is used to set and evaluate the accomplishment of goals related to the representation and status of women students, staff, faculty, and administration. We recommend that a report on women at the University of Washington be repeated at periodic (e.g., bi-annual) intervals to track progress towards goals. We further recommend that regular collection of data for this report be permanently funded and incorporated into the responsibilities of the President’s Office or to another University office so designated by the President

  • Gathering data for this report was limited by resources available to PACW to obtain the data and by inconsistencies and gaps in data available through various offices of the UW. PACW remains committed to assisting in the preparation of this report in the future through analysis of data and making recommendations to the President. We recommend that data collection and recording systems of the UW continue to be improved to streamline reporting and to present consistent categories for reporting data on women. We recommend that the University officials charged with responsibilities for coordinating data collection systems consult with user groups, including PACW, to identify data needs, problems, and gaps.

Marcia Killien, PhD, RN, FAAN
PACW Chair, 2007-08
Professor, School of Nursing

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