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SLU Named a Top Workplace for Women

02/23/2020Media Inquiries

Nancy Solomon
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Saint Louis University has been selected as a top place in St. Louis for women to work by the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis.

Sista Strut

An example of SLU engagement with community groups that benefit women and girls is its participation in the annual Sista Strut, which raises awareness and resources for women of color who have breast cancer. The SLU Fairy God Walkers team at the 2019 event included, from left,  Olivia Applewhite, Mona Hicks, Ed.D., Fran Pestello, Ph.D., Lisa Stone, Regina Walton and Jordann Reese.

 Submitted File Photo

In announcing the release of its third annual “Women in the Workplace Scorecard,” the Women’s Foundation recognized 16 St. Louis employers for excellence in four areas of workplace gender equity. The group assessed businesses of all sizes for leadership, compensation, flexible work policies and recruitment and retention.

“We have made good strides in advancing gender equity in the workplace, and through past efforts and the initiatives we have on campus, we will continue to build on this important work,” said Lisa Dorsey, Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy and a former SLU administrator who co-created a women’s mentorship program.

“Being listed among the best places in St. Louis for women to work affords us an opportunity to tell our story about the good things we are doing and highlight ways to continue to support and advance women.”

 The Women’s Foundation of St. Louis’ scorecard recognized companies that show their strong commitment to women in the workplace through measurable outcomes, family-friendly work policies and best practices.

Unlike most “Best Places to Work” reports that rely on employee opinion surveys, the scorecard looked at objective criteria and outcomes. Designated organizational representatives answered specific questions about existing policies, practices and employee data. A six-person panel at the Women's Foundation evaluated that data which included company employment practices and their impact on gender diversity.

Among the reasons SLU is a strong place for women are:

Women Leading Women mentorship program

Dorsey, who was named a 2016 Woman of the Year by the SLU Women’s Commission, is co-creator of Women Leading Women, a mentorship program specifically designed to support and advance the career advancement of women at SLU.

Since its inception four years ago, the four-part workshop series has impacted 200 women faculty and staff who have served as both mentors and mentees.

Women Leading Women: Strategies and Support for Lifelong Career Development in Higher Education empowers women to reflect on their strengths, establish professional and personal goals, and connect with other campus women mentors. The program has broad support from the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of Human Resources, Office of Student Development and Women’s Commission.

“It’s a terrific group every year, engaging female faculty and staff across the university because an academic enterprise works when all sectors across campus are successful,” Dorsey says.

Contemporary employee leave policies

Saint Louis University supports employees through a variety of practices and policies across campus.

  •  The University's Family and Medical Leave Act policy was recently revised to encourage men to utilize these benefits.
  • Employees can use paid sick time or vacation time for care of sick dependents and/or other family members.
  • Parental leave benefits have been established to allow faculty and staff members who are new parents time to care for and bond with newborn and adopted children.
  • In addition, eligible employees who build their families through adoption can receive up to $6,000 reimbursement for adoption-related expenses.
Outreach to women and girls in the community

The number of service events to support women and girls in the community speaks to SLU’s identity and mission to serve.  Examples include:

  • YWCA Leader Lunch: The YWCA recognizes the commitment and contributions of working women from the St. Louis area with its annual luncheon. In addition to financially supporting and attending the program, SLU nominates women from our own community for recognition. 
  • Sista Strut: SLU sponsors a team each year to raise awareness about how issues of breast cancer affect women of color and provides resources to a traditionally underserved part of the St. Louis community. More than 100 members of the SLU community participated in the October 2019 event, raising more than $3,500 for local non-profits. 
  • Get Her in The Game: The athletics department annually sponsors the “Get Her in the Game women’s sports luncheon, which last year raised a record $80,000 to support scholarship and athletic opportunities for female SLU student-athletes. 
  • Saint Louis University's Jesuit Health Resource Center, a free clinic operated by medical school students under the guidance of SLU doctors, offers a Well Woman clinic, one of several services for members of the community who lack financial resources for medical care.
Task forces that continue to advance equity work

 While the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis’ recognition highlights SLU is one of the area’s top places for women to work, SLU is committed to continued progress on gender equity issues. Recently, the provost’s office announced it will add a Faculty Fellow for Equity Issues, who will work closely with multiple university divisions and collaborate with faculty, staff and students.

In addition, the University has established multiple task forces and committees that examine and make recommendations on gender equity issues to continue to move SLU forward.

SLU will be formally recognized at the Women's Foundation of Greater St. Louis' annual Making a Difference event in September.