Progress is a Relative Thing

Someone suggested I go over to the UCLA Medical School to look at the pictures of the graduates over the years if I wanted to see what "progress in diversity" actually looked like. So, of course, I did. Here's what I learned.

The pictures are displayed along the corridor of the Medical School -- beginning in 1955 and ending with 2010 graduates. The class of 1955 had a total of 26 graduates of which two were women: Helen Rolphsen Schultz (second row, far right) and Phyllis Carol Taylor (bottom row, six from the left). That was 7.7% of the graduating headcount 57 years ago.


Look at what happened over almost six decades. In 2010, there were 164 UCLA Medical School graduates pictured - a total increase of 138 graduates. The number of women Medical School graduates increased from 2 to 83 which now represents 51% of the total headcount. Even when the total marketplace increases, women can readily make an impact on the headcount. It's not where we start - it's where we end up. Over half of the graduates today represents a pretty substantive presence.