Monday marks National Women’s Equality Day, and gender equality can be seen at Central Alabama Community College.
Women’s Equality Day remembers the passage of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, giving women the right to vote, and women’s efforts for equality, according to National Women’s History Alliance. The day was designated Aug. 26, 1973.
CACC president Dr. Susan Burrow said the school is working toward equality by having staff hires reflect the campus’ diversity.
“We look at gender, we look at ethnicity, racial diversity all of those factors because we want to reflect the community to serve with the student population because they need those role models to identify so we keep that in mind with job search and placement especially in the ranks of faculty,” Burrow said. “We really would like for that to be a positive experience for the students.”
CACC’s goal is to serve its students to help them be successful and it has a high population of first-generation college students. To do that, the school makes sure to establish role models for them.
Burrow has worked in the Alabama Community College System for more than 32 years. When she started as president, she noticed the business and industry worlds are predominantly male.
“So I have seen increased numbers of women in those environments over the years but it’s been a predominantly male-driven type process but its pretty intense and keeps me busy,” Burrow said. “It’s more demanding of a 40 hour a week job.”
Burrow started her career in nursing and taught it at a local community college. She then moved up to the dean of academic programs at Bevill State Community College then to interim president at CACC in 2013. She became CACC’s president in 2015.
“It’s a very intense role,” Burrow said. “There are a lot of requirements outside of the day to day operation of the college. You’re responsible for the overall performance of the college so it’s a reflection of the work I do daily and then there’s commitment to the communities and this college serves seven counties so it spreads you pretty thin to cover all those areas.”
Burrow said it has gotten easier for women in the community college career field over time and there are more mentors nowadays.
“There weren’t that many role models to see because it was predominantly male dominated at the top, so over time that had changed, I commend the community college system because they had a very directed effort to be inclusive and help pave a pathway for women and I have seen that change during my career,” Burrow said.