Book by Judy Touchton, with Caryn McTighe Musil and Kathryn Peltier Campbell
Review by Tiffany N. Labon-Sims
Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration
The University of Alabama
As Frederick Douglass once stated, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”. Women within the field of higher education have indeed weathered the struggle to get to the various positions that they now hold, but there are still many areas of progress that need to be made before equality occurs in and around the field of higher education. This quick, but informative, read allows advisors and other individuals in academia to learn and understand how women have progressed to where they stand today.
Reading more like a report than a book, A measure of equity: Women’s progress in higher education, gives a snapshot of the past 20-plus years since the founding of the Project on the Status and Education of Women at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The book highlights the differences between women and men’s high school completion rates and transition to college based on race as well as women’s progression through the undergraduate ratings of associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is apparent that women are making strides in the overall arena of higher education but major differences still exist in relationship to compensation and their gradual ascent to higher degrees and administrative positions. While looking at the progress that has been made, the field of higher education can look at increasing its initiatives in recruitment and retaining of women in all areas of higher learning. The book furthers explains some of the obstacles that women face such as a women’s socioeconomic status; job compensation; lower numbers of recruitment and retention of women in STEM areas; a need to “change policies and rethink equity so it includes personal as well as professional success” (Mason and Goulden, 2004); the major issues affecting the transition to and through faculty ranks; the alternate routes women take to achieve high administrative roles; and partnering with other women and men for a stronger outlook to the roles that women hold on colleges and universities.
This book gives academic advisors and other individuals in and outside of academia the knowledge of how to advise and direct women who are aspiring to go into the field of higher education by giving them the necessary statistical data and other information that any female student would need before embarking upon after graduation. However, this book does not directly pertain to “advising” per se. The book only gives an overview of what has happened in the past 20-plus years of women’s progression and not enough information on how to make it better outside of the “hot topic” sections of the book. Therefore, I would commend the authors for compressing so much needed information into one book, especially all of the statistical data. It is from the statistical data that one gathers all of the information that is needed to make a decision on whether this is the field of choice for her. I believe that this book is a useful resource, but it only gives an overview of what female students will face as they climb the ladder of higher education.
Mason, M. A., and M. Goulden. (2004). Do babies matter (Part II)? Closing the baby gap. Academe 90 (6): 10-15.
Taylor, Q. (2009). (1857) Frederick Douglass, “If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress.” Retrieved from http://www.blackpast.org/?q=1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress
A measure of equity: Women’s progress in higher education, (2008), Book by Judy Touchton, with Caryn McTighe Musil and Kathryn Peltier Campbell. Review by Tiffany N. Labon-Sims. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities, 37 pp. $25.00. ISBN # 978-0-9796181-6-1