Creating Status of Women Reports: Institutional Housekeeping as "Women's Work"

Growing awareness of the underrepresentation of women in male-dominated fields like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), has inspired universities across the United States to examine more carefully their strategies for recruiting, retaining, and promoting women students and faculty. To do so has required assembling personnel to organize and execute data collection, analyses, and interpretation. Not surprisingly, women faculty are the primary participants in this type of work. We examine the process of creating a status of women report at Iowa State University, including what this process means for institutional responsibility for gender issues and for the careers of women who produce such reports. We also recommend ways to address the problems associated with women's unrecognized service work. We refer to such work as "institutional housekeeping" because it involves the invisible and supportive work of women to improve women's status within the institution.