AUC Launches Working Group to Boost Gender Equity Across Campus

AUC's Gender Policy Working Group
AUC's Gender Policy Working Group

A new working group consisting of AUC students, faculty and staff is spearheading an effort to review the University’s gender-related policies to ensure inclusivity, equity, diversity and care for the entire community.

The Gender Policy Working Group is the result of a March training called “Gender Policy-Integration: The Why and How?” led by the recently-launched Tomorrow’s Leaders Gender Scholars (TLS) program. The session aimed to support gender mainstreaming — or realizing gender equity — on the level of policy, process and procedures.

“The challenge of this group is to address the ways injustices rooted in gender discrimination play out in in real life and in real time,” explained Hania Sholkamy, group member and associate professor at AUC’s Social Research Center.

Along with the launch of TLS in Fall 2021, AUC launched its SpeakUp initiative in 2020 to combat discrimination and harassment across campus. The initiative mandated anti-sexual harassment training for all and featured a  dialog series that offered insight on topics such as gender norms and safety, inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.

The working group, headed by Sunanda Holmes, AUC’s general counsel and chief compliance officer, will take this one step further — by examining the current policies at AUC, identifying gaps and explaining why they may be difficult to bridge in the face of Egyptian law and culture. 

“It’s great to contribute to such a proactive and ambitious group, especially a group with such inclusive representation," remarked Eyad Hegazy, deputy speaker of AUC’s Student Senate. “I am looking forward to making an impact for the greater good of our community.”

Creating a gender policy checklist, recognizing unconscious biases and how they impact laws, and realizing the need to redress past inequalities to make current gender-neutral policies effective are all part of the efforts underway.

President Ahmed Dallal applauded the initiative during its first meeting in mid-May.

“Ensuring inclusivity cannot be achieved through a standalone policy, hence the importance of today’s training and the integration of gender in our overall policies,” he said.

From budgeting and HR procedures to the design of academic programs, the group will strive to maintain AUC's role as a model for other universities and an active player in combating gender stereotyping and discrimination, Dallal explained.

For more information on gender mainstreaming efforts at AUC and the Gender Policy Working Group, contact tomorrowsleaders@aucegypt.edu.