Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

FWF Origins

Main content start
Original Faculty Women's Forum co-chairs Professors Deborah Rhode (Law) and Patricia Jones (Biology).

The Stanford Faculty Women’s Forum (FWF) was founded in the fall of 2004 with support from the Provost’s office.

Its mission has been to provide information and organize events for those interested in promoting the success of women faculty at Stanford. The FWF also provides opportunities for faculty participation from across the university to discuss shared interests, concerns, and ideas. FWF participation is open to all faculty members, regardless of gender.

The Forum was created in response to a recommendation in the 2004 Report by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women Faculty [PACSWF]. The Committee was formed in response to a conference of presidents of nine leading research universities, including Stanford. Participants renewed their commitment to gender equity and promised to evaluate their own institutions’ progress on this issue and share their findings. The PACSWF Report presented a broad range of data, including findings from the first university-wide quality of life survey. It also made numerous recommendations concerning academic climate, hiring, promotion, compensation, childcare, work/family policies and related issues. One of those recommendations was to create a Faculty Women’s Forum similar to organizations in other peer institutions such as Yale.

Stanford itself had experience with such an organization, the Faculty Women’s Caucus, launched in 1987 with support from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. The Caucus quickly attracted broad interest from faculty throughout the university. It prepared a number of reports and pushed the administration to improve its policies concerning issues such as pay equity, parental leave, and promotion and tenure for women and underrepresented minorities. After a change in Institute leadership and priorities, the Caucus lost administrative support and eventually disbanded.

But interest persisted. The Faculty Women's Forum took up the challenge in 2004, with staff and program support from what is now the Office of Faculty Development, Diversity and Engagement. Since that time, the Faculty Women’s Forum has organized events on a broad range of topics, including not only university gender policies, but also topics of general interest such as leadership, negotiation, mentoring, stress and time management, and race and ethnicity. These programs enable faculty from across the university to meet colleagues outside their discipline in both social and professional settings. Run by a steering committee of diverse faculty, the FWF welcomes ideas for speakers and activities.