UPenn club will examine 'gender jaws' of other groups

The Gender Balance Consulting club will examine the gender ratios, or "gender jaws" of clubs at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as businesses in the Philadelphia, Pa. area.

But when it comes to its own gender balance, the group reports that it is having trouble recruiting males.

A new student organization at the University of Pennsylvania will audit gender ratios, or “gender jaws,” of other groups and local businesses.

The Gender Balance Consulting club, founded by UPenn students Becca Bean and Sarina Divan, will look at gender makeup of organizations on and off campus and encourage those groups to balance their gender diversity, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

”Our goal is to be able to quantify these discrepancies so that we can better understand them,” Bean said. “Being able to provide this diagnostic of where our campus is at will be a huge step in change.”

The effort is comprised of two main components: an internal consulting group, which will focus on the gender parity of student groups, and an external team that will work to analyze the gender parity of companies in Philadelphia, Pa. 

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Both teams plan to use a method called “Gender Jaws,” a process involving analysis of the gaps, or “jaws,” that appear on line graphs comparing a company’s male and female metrics.  The larger the gap between male and female members, the larger the “gender jaws.”  Organizations then work to bring the data points closer together, so that their wide “gender jaws” will close.

“I feel like a lot of consulting clubs are very formal and established, and I thought that a new one, especially with a social mission, would be a better culture,” UPenn junior Dana Sargent told The Daily Pennsylvanian.

After analyzing gender data, the club hopes to be able to offer specific solutions to organizations on how they may achieve the goal of “gender balance.”

“It’s not the fault of women that there’s gender inequality in the workplace, and women shouldn’t be the ones that are putting in the extra effort in addition to their work,” Bean said.

Bean and Divian are struggling with closing their own Gender Jaws, however, stating that while they hope to include male students in their watchdog group, they noticed a lack of interest from male students at the school’s activities fair.

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“It’s important for women to hold positions of power in the business industry because it is a largely white, male-dominated industry,” UPenn freshman Rania Zakaria said. “There’s no reason that women shouldn’t be part of it.”

As for the school’s own groups, UPenn student Christian Bradley told Campus Reform that while he believes getting more women involved in certain student organizations is a “noble goal,” he thinks this group is “missing the point,” stating that those who want to reform the school’s club culture should focus on the fact that the Ivy League institution and many other elite schools “are divided on socio-economic lines more than anything else.”

“I think diversity is inherently a good thing, however it is best when it is a natural byproduct of genuine passion and interest,” Bradley added. “No student, especially at a school like Penn, should [feel] inhibited when trying to follow his/her interests. No man or woman should feel pressured to study finance and join consulting clubs if they are truly interested in pursuing literature or joining a theatre club!”

The University of Pennsylvania did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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