Our History

Photo of Deb Ballam and Judy Fountain Yesso
Deb Ballam and Judy Fountain Yesso were members of the group that founded The Women's Place and its first two directors.

Rooted in formal groups like Council on Academic Excellence for Women and Critical Difference for Women, and informal groups such as the "grassroots network" and Association of Faculty and Professional Women (now the Association for Staff and Faculty Women), women across campus carried out efforts to create a culture of equity on behalf of all women at Ohio State. Regardless of the group, the goal was the same, to articulate what was needed within the university so that the climate was positive for women and so that women could succeed and advance. Based in part on these efforts, President Gee appointed a task force for The Women's Place in 1996 and the initial concept for the function was developed.

The Ohio State University has actively recruited women and minorities, but not retained them at the same rate, thus the percentage of women in tenured faculty and administrative leadership positions has not increased markedly over the years. In 1998, President Brit Kirwan and Provost Ed Ray recognized the potential value of The Women's Place in addressing climate issues that impact retention.

We opened our doors in January of 2000. In our first years of service we created a website that served as a clearinghouse for information for women on campus; provided networking opportunities; served as a resource for faculty to support retention; implemented the President's Council on Women; collected data on climate issues for women; and began publishing the Annual Report on the Status of Women at Ohio State.

To learn more about the history of how The Women's Place began, read "Origins of The Women's Place" by Dr. Deborah Ballam, JD, PhD, faculty emerita, Fisher College of Business, and former director of The Women's Place.