In March, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in College Park announced its 50/50 by 2020 Pledge, in which it plans to take steps to enroll equal numbers of men and women in its programs by the year 2020. The move is in response to evidence that although women make up the majority of those earning college degrees, they still lag behind in business disciplines. AACSB International’s 2014 Business School Data Guide reports that most MBA programs in North America enroll 30 percent to 40 percent women.
At the Smith School, women in the full-time, part-time, online, and executive MBA programs represented 31 percent of enrollment in fall 2013 and 32 percent in fall 2014.
In a first step toward reaching its 2020 target, in 2014 the Smith School became an educational partner of the Forté Foundation, a consortium dedicated to empowering women in the workplace. That partnership will translate to new scholarships, events, and career opportunities for women on campus.
Other 50/50 by 2020 initiatives will focus on recruiting and admissions strategies designed to attract more women to Smith’s programs; alumni support through the school’s Women’s Alumni Network; and student programming to support women MBA candidates, including podcasts, a salary negotiation seminar, an MBA career fair, women’s speaker series, and women-only corporate networking events and symposia.
The Smith School will post updates and solicit feedback on its 50/50 by 2020 pledge on its website.