Welcome back from IRWG director Anna Kirkland


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color photo of Anna Kirkland
color photo of Anna Kirkland

It has been an exciting first year as Director! IRWG has long been a bustling hub of feminist research ideas and wonderful relationships, and this year has seen us grow in new directions.

I'm proud to announce our centerpiece programming for this fall: our three-part Sexual Harassment in the Academy Panel Discussion series based around the National Academies report on sexual harassment of women in academic sciences, engineering, and medicine (read more). These panels, held in each the medical, engineering, and science communities on campus, give us a chance to come together as scholars to discuss #MeToo and the problem of sexual harassment in academia. Each panel features National Academies panel members (including myself, Psychology and Women’s Studies Professor Lilia Cortina, and Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Studies Professor Timothy Johnson) as well as campus leaders.

We also formed new collaborations with surgeons at Michigan Medicine working to transform the culture for women in their field, extended our grant support and program areas to our colleagues in Women’s Studies at the Dearborn campus, and were awarded a National Sciences Foundation postdoctoral position in Gender, Law, and Health. The new postdoc will be recruited this fall to join us in September 2019 for two years.

In April, twenty-three leaders from nineteen other gender research centers across the U.S. and Canada gathered here at Michigan (an event conceived under IRWG’s previous director, Sarah Fenstermaker) to strategize and build a national network (read more). We learned a lot about the state of gender research institutes and plan to continue our collaborations. It’s very encouraging to know, for example, that a large majority of gender research institutes have existed for twenty years or longer, that most of them are at public research universities, and our institutes thrive with a wide array of institutional structures, budgets, and funding sources. One common challenge is communicating the worth of gender research institutes in the context of ever-tighter budgets and attention to more traditional disciplinary research fields. The gender research and programming we do at IRWG every day is crucial to understanding the most pressing problems of our turbulent times. As Director, I will continue to focus our energies on promoting and sharing daring new research, digging out under-studied angles of prominent research topics, and putting ourselves at the center of the most important discussions at Michigan. I’ll see you there.

Anna Kirkland signature

Anna Kirkland
Director, Institute for Research on Women & Gender
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Women's Studies

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