Ongoing Initiatives, Support and Collaboration

Work/Family Life Balance

The Commission is concerned with creating a work environment that supports employees through more dynamic family /employee friendly policies, from flexible work arrangements and telecommuting to supporting employees in crisis or during particularly life-changing periods, such as the birth of a child or the death of a parent/spouse. The commission hopes to advise the University on how to create a more sustainable UNH, one that moves beyond the traditional ideas of environmental sustainability and expands sustainability to include the mental, physical, emotional and professional well-being of employees. The wellness of employees translates into a UNH workforce that is more productive, efficient and satisfied with their personal and professional lives.

Work Place Bullying

Bringing awareness to the issue of workplace bullying is the newest initiative of the Women’s Commission. At a recent conference of the College and University Work Life Association, commission members learned that workplace bullying is pervasive on university campuses. Workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; and work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done. According to new research, 58 percent of the targets of bullying are women. Of those who perpetrate bullying, 55.5 percent are men. However, 80 percent of the perpetrators who bully women are other women. (Source: Workplace Bullying Institute). The Commission continues to work with campus governing groups on promoting a caring community that aspires to treat every individual with respect, dignity and kindness regardless of their position or status.

Childcare Study

Nearly four decades, the Women’s Commission has been working towards creating a childcare facility on campus to meet the demands of students, staff and faculty. Although the Women’s Commission has historically fought for the construction of a campus facility, we do not see it solely as a women’s issue. Rather, it is a university issue, one which affects all employees with young families, GLBT, and people of color alike. Qualitative and quantitative data gathered from campus resources has shown that there is insufficient childcare on campus. University parents of young children continue to struggle, usually quietly and beyond view, to balance their work and parental roles.

Pay Equity Study for Staff

Pay equity is a means of eliminating sex and race discrimination in the wage-setting system. From 2002 to 2004, full-time working women earned an average of 71 cents for every dollar earned by men in New Hampshire (source: http://www.nhwpi.org). At this rate of change, the Institute for Women's Policy Research estimates that it will take until 2057 to close the wage gap. It is the goal of the Women's Commission to institutionalize a pay equity study for both faculty and staff at the University. UNH ADVANCE grant team is moving forward with the study by talking with women faculty, University administrators, representatives from the Faculty Senate and the AAUP prior to conducting a pay equity study for faculty. This NSF-funded project focuses on strengthening policies and practices to address gender imbalance, particularly in STEM disciplines. The Commission continues to have representation on the ADVANCE Team.

Programming/Collaboration

The Women’s Commission continues to collaborate with other campus departments/offices and student organizations at the University to make diverse programming available to the community. The Commission also supports the continued efforts and programming collaborations with the President’s Commissions on; the Status of People of Color, GLBT, and Disability, as well as the University Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity.

Various Student Issues

The commission continually addresses the needs and concerns of students at UNH. These issues are usually brought to the Commission’s attention by student representatives on the Commission.