Joy Dietz, retiring director of the Women in Management program and Purdue InnovateHER coordinator, says that the program is very proud of its role in supporting the event.
"Our workforce looks very different now than it did 50 years ago," Dietz says. "Women now comprise nearly half of the labor force, and demands on women and their families are growing. This competition is the platform to provide the products and services that address those demands, and we look forward to supporting this competition in many years to come."
Another event organized by the Jane Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management featured a February panel discussion on workplace gender equality. Panelists included Krannert's Ellen Kossek, the Basil S. Turner Professor of Management, and Purdue Foundry's Mike Asem, director of collaborative relationships.
Topics for the discussion included the pay gap between men and women who hold similar jobs; the limitations of family leave; a workforce with few female leaders; and the role men can play as advocates for equality.
Kossek says universities play a key role not only in educating students, but also in creating an environment for them to succeed. To that end, Purdue also hosted the inaugural Leadership Excellence and Gender in Organizations Symposium in late March. The symposium was organized by Purdue’s Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence, the Jane Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management and the Krannert School, along with partners from Purdue, other universities, the business community and policy experts.
“This conference brought together leading scholars to address opportunities to use cutting-edge research to effect change in organizations and occupations in a way that improves gender equality,” Kossek says. “We are preparing students in the classroom, but it’s also imperative that we consider changes that create an environment in which our students can thrive and excel once they graduate.”
Purdue has a history of producing top female business leaders and continuously seeks opportunities to build on that tradition. In August 2015, Kossek and David Hummels, Krannert School dean and economics professor, participated in a daylong White House summit to explore ways to expand opportunities for women in business and adapt to changing workforce needs.
“It was a tremendous opportunity to engage other leaders on these issues,” Hummels says. “Leading business schools like Krannert are in a prime position to facilitate not only the discussion on this important topic, but also the course of action. We will have discussions on improving access to business schools and careers, making sure our business schools are preparing students for the workforce of the future, and providing career services that also take into account the needs of nontraditional students.
“While all of these concepts are geared toward expanding opportunities for women, it’s clear that these types of initiatives will create broad benefits that will improve all students’ educational experiences and help build a stronger and more vibrant workforce.”