Think tank on focuses on women's careers

January 27, 1992|By Carol Kleiman | Carol Kleiman,Chicago Tribune

A new think tank to research women's careers is being established on the campus of Mount Vernon College in Washington.

The Institute for Women and Work in Washington will "connect women and their work," its founder says.

"An intellectual approach to employed women is needed because by the year 2000, more than 80 percent of women age 25 to 54 will be in the labor force -- and they need to have a better chance, a better opportunity," said LucyAnn Geiselman, who was named president of the liberal arts college for women in August.

The center, housed in the college's academic building, will be home for resident scholars who will research how women can break through the glass ceiling and how to make the workplace a more level playing field.

The scholars are a multicultural group of academicians and business executives.

In addition to four Mount Vernon faculty members, they include Sharon Rodin, chairwoman of the advisory board of the National Women's Political Caucus; Donna Shavlik, head of the American Council on Education's Office of Women in Higher Education; Polly Surrey, director and vice president of the Dreyfus Foundation; Betty Parsons Dooley, executive director of the Women's Research and Education Institute in Washington; Marjorie Lightman and Sandra Galloway Jr., business executives; Norma Tucker, director of National-Louis University; and Florence Bonner, Howard University sociologist.

"It will be an umbrella organization, helping women understand where they have been and where they're going in terms of their careers," said Dr. Geiselman, who has a doctorate in education from the University of Chicago and undergraduate and master's degrees in divinity from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

The president, whose 117-year-old college has 500 undergraduates, emphasizes that her goal is "to do strategic planning for the future of women's careers in the United States in a way that will be helpful to educational institutions, to do research on women's learning and career patterns and to do policy analysis and advocacy on issues affecting women. And then, we're going to publish."

Though Labor Secretary Lynn Martin attended a special convocation last November to announce the establishment of the think tank, the institute is not yet funded.

"We don't have the money yet," said Dr. Geiselman, "but a director will be appointed in June, and we will be searching for foundation support."

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