Impact of Title IX passage resonates across health sciences

Taben Hale, PhDis living her grandmother’s dream.

Dr. Hale, associate professor of basic medical sciences and director of Women in Medicine and Science at the College of Medicine – Phoenixsaid her grandparents wanted to be a modern-day Marie and Pierre Curie.

“My grandmother went to college in the 1940s and got a degree in biology,” Dr. Hale said. “She started a master’s program in biochemistry because she wanted to be a scientist. My grandfather was a chemist. He told me after his death that their dream was to be like the Curies, the scientific couple.

“But shortly after my grandmother started her Masters, she got pregnant with my father. And that was it. She had to drop out of the program. Because that’s what you did then.

Today, Dr. Hale runs her own cardiovascular disease lab and teaches pharmacology and physiology to medical and graduate students.

Based on gender

When President Richard Nixon signed into law Title IX on June 23, 1972, the purpose of employment legislation was to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities that receive assistance. federal.

In the minds of most people today, Title IX is closely tied to women’s sports – the force behind the world dominance of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team or the female Olympic athletes in basketball. , athletics and softball. But the law continues to have a profound impact on colleges and universities far beyond the playing field.

At the University of Arizona, the Institutional Equity Office (OIE) serves as a resource on Title IX and related matters, including any form of discrimination prohibited under the university’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.

Mary Beth TuckerVice President of Equity and Title IX, said she encourages members of the University community to visit the OIE website for more information on university engagement and OIE services, including information on reporting, processes, support and training.

then and now

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, regardless of their qualifications, women were not hired, paid or promoted like men. In fact, at that time, women could not get credit cards or loans in their name.

Marion Slack, PhD, professor emeritus of pharmaceutical practice sciences, said when she first applied after graduating from pharmacy in 1969, she was told no one would hire her because she had a child.Marion Slack, PhDEmeritus Professor of Pharmacy Practice-Science at R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, said that after earning her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Kentucky in 1969, she applied for several jobs. “I was interviewing at the time, and since graduating I had given birth to a daughter. I had a hard time getting a job because they wouldn’t hire a woman with a kid.

“They would tell me things like, ‘We wouldn’t be interested in giving you a job because you’re married with a child, and you’re going to quit soon.’ And what’s ironic is that in one of the places that I interviewed, they hired a guy and about eight months later he quit.

While more women today hold academic positions — 45.3% of UArizona professors are women — problems still exist. A recent new scientist A survey has found that the gender pay gap in STEM fields in the United States has increased from 12% in 2021 to 17.5% in 2022, in part due to the fact that women increasingly take childcare commitments and thus losing ground at work due to the pandemic.

Anti-Nepotism Rules

In the early 1970s, the UArizona campus looked very different from today. In addition to fewer buildings and fewer students, the faculty of almost all colleges was then also very different – ​​mostly made up of white males.

“They were telling me things like, ‘We wouldn’t be interested in giving you a job because you’re married with a kid, and you’re just going to quit in a short time.'”Marion Slack, PhD

One woman who sought to change that was Shirley Fahey, PhD, who received her doctorate in social psychology from the University of Florida in 1964. Dr. Fahey was hired in 1970 as an assistant professor of psychiatry at the College of Medicine – Tucson and remained at the college until she retired 30 years later as a professor and associate dean of admissions.

During her tenure, she served as president of the American Association of University Teachers and led successful efforts to revise the university’s nepotism guidelines, which included an anti-nepotism rule prevalent in colleges in the era that prohibited women married to men holding a professorship from being hired as professors.

Dr. Fahey, who was also a founding member and first president of the Tucson chapter of the National Organization for Women, deceased in 2003.

“I think today we live in a world of equal opportunity,” said Hina Arif-Tiwari, MD, fSARVice President of Clinical Affairs and Head of Abdominal Imaging at College of Medicine – Tucson. “That said, female medical and science teachers still face challenges and need support to use their full potential and reach where they want to be. Without Title IX, I really don’t think we would have the number of women in medicine that we see right now.

“We are reaping the fruits of the hard work of the pioneers of the Title IX movement of the 1970s that got us to where we are today,” added Dr. Arif-Tiwari. “Although we find some gender inequalities, we really don’t feel the discrimination as much as women did at the time.”

The next 50 years

Drs. Both Arif-Tiwari and Hale said ensuring women are considered and promoted to leadership positions could define the next 50 years of Title IX.

Hina Arif-Tiwari, MD, fSAR, vice president of clinical affairs and chief of abdominal imaging at the College of Medicine – Tucson.

“We’re in a much better place right now thanks to the level playing field provided by Title IX,” Dr. Arif-Tiwari said. “We have seen the number of women entering medical school increase over the past two decades. And right now, it’s over 50%.

“However, fewer women enter residency after completing medical school, and those who go into subspecialties, such as surgery or radiology, are much smaller. The female to male ratio decreases significantly in leadership positions such as presidents and deans. So there are some hurdles and challenges that women entering the medical field always face along the way.

For Dr. Hale, entering academic medicine in the era after Title IX was implemented meant that when she was recruited to UArizona Health Sciences, she was able to suspend her tenure clock and not be penalized for taking maternity leave for her two children.

“I can certainly agree that it’s easier today than it was 20, 40, 50 years ago. I think that’s the idea – that I didn’t have to choose between being a mother and being a researcher and a faculty member. I love both aspects of my life. And I couldn’t imagine one without the other.

Something her grandmother would appreciate.


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