UM Launches Initiative to Empower Women

Dear Campus Community,

I am excited to announce that the University of Montana is launching the S.E.A. Change initiative. This initiative is a focused effort leading up to the centennial of the full ratification of the 19th Amendment and part of our campus’s broader commitment to equity for all. We will amplify and expand our efforts across our campus – and throughout the community – to foster an environment that is safe for women, one that uniquely empowers all women to reach their full potential, and one that accelerates women into careers of impact.

While we acknowledge and celebrate the great gains of the past century since the 19th Amendment became law, we also recognize that much work remains. Many called 2018 “The Year of the Woman,” yet Congress is still only one quarter female, less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and we have a persistent wage gap between men and women across fields. Addressing these disparities will benefit not only women but all of us. We know that including women from diverse backgrounds at all levels in our organizations leads to better outcomes and problem solving. In short, it makes our entire society better. This is one reason we have relaunched the UM Women’s Leadership Initiative. We have local, national and global work yet to do. And UM has an important role to play in addressing these realities.

With the S.E.A. Change initiative, we will:

  • Declare UM’s commitment to powering a societal sea change toward equity for all.
  • Elevate the good work around gender equity already driven by our faculty, staff and students.
  • Amplify and enhance existing efforts through new collaborations.
  • Identify existing and gather new data to help us better understand our context and needs.
  • Implement new programming, as guided by our campus community.
  • Fundraise for enhanced and new programming.

I recognize that driving a societal sea change toward equity for all means on-going, deliberate effort and concrete action. I recognize that we are not there yet. And I recognize that we will need the expertise and deep experience of our campus community to determine how UM can best advance equity for all gender identities and expressions.

We are far from finished with the work that began over a century ago when courageous women fought for suffrage. This work starts at home with our own students and employees.

Please visit the S.E.A. Change website to learn more, to follow our blog series and to listen to our podcast episodes. As the initiative takes shape, we will keep you posted.