Campus & Community

Harvard lands on Working Mother’s ‘100 best’ list … again

3 min read

Harvard University continues to be among the nation’s best workplaces for women, according to Working Mother magazine, which on Sept. 12 named the University one of its “100 Best” organizations for working mothers for the third year in a row. Harvard is the only university on the 2005 list and one of just three employers in Massachusetts to be recognized.

The award is a testament to the variety and scope of support that Harvard provides to working parents, says Harvard’s chief human resources officer Marilyn Hausammann. “As vice president of human resources – and a working mother for the past 20 years – I am personally committed to excellence in our people practices. I am delighted that Harvard has been honored by Working Mother for its broad array of progressive work/life benefits.”

Working Mother rates companies on eight areas including child care, culture, flexibility, parental leave, women’s advancement, total compensation, work/life culture, and family-friendly programs. This year, magazine editors gave particular weight to three areas: flexible scheduling – calling it the most critical benefit for working mothers; child-care options; and time off for new parents.

Hausammann says that Harvard stands out in a number of these areas. The University provides full benefits and retirement plan eligibility for those who work half-time or more; subsidized access to backup care for children and elders; parental leave for birth mothers, birth fathers, and adoptive parents; scholarship assistance for child care; and six on-site University-subsidized day care centers.

She also notes that faculty and staff can take advantage of a range of other services, such as financial planning seminars and consultations, flexible scheduling and telecommuting, an employee assistance program that is available to employees and their families 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and a wealth of health and wellness programs.

Moreover, says Hausammann, the University succeeds in other ways that Working Mother deems important, namely how women fare in reaching the management level of an organization.

Women comprise 53 percent of the University’s workforce. Sixty-one percent of its middle managers are women, as are 47 percent of its senior managers. On the academic side, 30 percent of faculty and 40 percent of other academic appointees (postdoctoral fellows, teaching assistants) are women. Women are well represented in the University’s highest tiers, as well: Harvard has three female deans and five of its seven vice presidents are women.

The award comes at a time when the University has been focused on increasing its support of women academics, and Hausammann acknowledges that more remains to be done to meet pockets of unmet need, particularly among junior faculty. “I will be working closely with Evelynn Hammonds, the new senior vice provost for faculty development and diversity, who will lead the effort to improve our policies for the faculty,” she said.

According to Hausammann, “Harvard’s ability to attract and keep top talent depends in part on our being an employer that assists people in managing the complicated balance of work and family. Extending the reach of these programs to every corner of the University and every part of our workforce will be an important priority for human resources in the year ahead.”