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Under-represented in the past, women scientists are now shaping the future
While women have traditionally been under-represented across STEM sectors, we can – as we observe the 9th International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11 – applaud significant ground gained in recent years in some of the most cutting-edge fields that stand to transform the future. In biotechnology, for example, which is revolutionizing health, medicine and agriculture, the latest industry survey shows the UK, Europe, and the US are close to gender parity, with more female graduates than male in some cases. And while the gender gap remains stubbornly wide at a leadership level, and especially across many developing countries, achieving gender equality at the vanguard of science is particularly important for tackling the global challenges of food security and poverty. As the entire world strives to sustainably produce food to meet the needs of a growing population amid a climate crisis, women scientists are playing an increasingly significant role in crop science and plant breeding. This is critical because the world cannot solve hunger and poverty through innovation without also solving gender inequality.
Posted on 14 Feb 2024
AWIS Wall of Wisdom
Looking for inspiration on your STEM journey? Check out this helpful advice from AWIS members. If you have additional lessons learned or words of encouragement you’d like to share, complete the member spotlight questionnaire.
Posted on 14 Feb 2024
Diversity Matters Even More: The Case for Holistic Impact
Diversity Matters Even More is the fourth report in a McKinsey series investigating the business case for diversity, following Why Diversity Matters (2015), Delivering Through Diversity (2018), and Diversity Wins (2020). For almost a decade through our Diversity Matters series of reports, McKinsey has delivered a comprehensive global perspective on the relationship between leadership diversity and company performance. This year, the business case is the strongest it has been since we’ve been tracking and, for the first time in some areas, equitable representation is in sight. Further, a striking new finding is that leadership diversity is also convincingly associated with holistic growth ambitions, greater social impact, and more satisfied workforces.
Posted on 30 Jan 2024
Qualtrics Survey/Qualtrics Experience Management
You are invited to participate in a research study titled "Nevertheless, She Persisted: Examining the structural and individual barriers impacting NSBE, SHPE, SWE Professional's Engineering Careers". Student Researcher Denisha S. McPherson of Northeastern University is seeking women members of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers to talk about their experiences in the engineering workforce in an interview. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the unique experiences, perspectives, and achievements of women engineers. By delving into these narratives, we aim to identify the barriers and opportunities that influence their professional journeys. Ultimately, the findings of this study will help inform strategies to enhance gender equality and inclusivity within the engineering industry.
Posted on 30 Jan 2024
The Quiet Revolution in the Science of Womanhood
Cat Bohannon was inspired to write Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution after seeing the movie Prometheus, the prequel to Alien1. In the movie, the heroine, Elizabeth Shaw, was impregnated with a large vicious alien squid. Shaw must find a way to abort the “alien” inside her without bleeding to death. At the futuristic surgery pod, she asks the computer for a C-section. “Error,” it said. "This medpod is calibrated for male patients only.” Bohannon thought, Who does that? Who sends a multi-trillion-dollar expedition into space and forgets to make sure the equipment works on women? Bohannon, a researcher and author, wrote Eve as a user’s manual for what it means to biologically be a woman. She found that the study of the female body has lagged significantly behind that of the male body; scientific and medical data on the female body has been woefully lacking. In the biological sciences (as well as in the social sciences), there is the “male norm," which refers to the fact that be it mouse or human, it is the male body that is studied. Unless specifically studying ovaries, uteri, estrogens, or breasts, women are not study subjects. As Bohannon says, this is an intellectual problem that has become a social problem. But it is not necessarily sexism; many researchers use male subjects for practical reasons. Bohannon reminds us that a good scientific experiment is a simple one with as few confounding factors as possible - and fertility factors are difficult to control for. It’s just easier to do clean science with men than with women. In fact, in the 1970s, researchers were “strongly advised” not to use female subjects of childbearing age. Currently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandates that all NIH-funded research must include women and racial and ethnic groups unless there is a compelling reason not to do so.
Posted on 18 Jan 2024
Teach It Forward: Sharing Industry Experience as an Adjunct Professor
Becoming an adjunct professor while working full time requires dedication and careful planning, but it can be more than worth the effort. In SWE Magazine's feature, “Teach It Forward: Sharing Industry Experience as an Adjunct Professor,” SWE Editorial Board member Sarvenaz Myslicki offers smart tips for educating the next generation of women engineers while continuing your career.
Posted on 18 Jan 2024
An Unprecedented Analysis of Women C-Suite Tech Leaders in Major Corporations
As shown across C-Suite disciplines, diverse perspectives are critical to business performance and cutting-edge strategic planning. This growing need for equity and diversity at the C-Suite level calls for new and improved pathways for tech talented women. Zeroing in on the specifics of these roles, on pathways to reaching them, and on effective solutions is the driving force behind Women Corporate Tech Executives in America report. Especially crucial in this environment of burgeoning technology is the need at the C-Suite level for high-powered tech leaders, with special emphasis on increased representation by techsavvy women. As shown across C-Suite disciplines, diverse perspectives are critical to business performance and cutting-edge strategic planning. This growing need for equity and diversity at the C-Suite level calls for new and improved tech pathways for talented women. Zeroing in on the specifics of these roles, on pathways to reaching them, and on effective solutions is the driving force behind Women Corporate Tech Executives in America, a new ground-breaking report from the Women Business Collaborative (WBC).
Posted on 08 Jan 2024
2023 Report and Recommendations: The State of Science in America
Government investment in science and technology has enabled the United States to lead the world in key technological advances and innovative discoveries for decades. Today, we can no longer take our leadership position for granted. The State of Science in America report provides clarity on the need for a national science and technology strategy that leverages renewed federal investment and better government agency coordination to strengthen our nation for decades to come.
Posted on 08 Jan 2024
Mental Health and Well-Being in STEMM
Dickens said it best in his novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” This is true of today’s science ecosystem, characterized by countervailing foundational strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, science is making tremendous advances in research (think, for example, about the rapid development of COVID-19 therapies and about the progress in artificial intelligence). On the other hand, some facets of STEM careers seem to be buckling under the weight of serious problems, such as challenges to getting tenure and persistence in racial bias and sexual harassment. Such challenges contribute to significant mental-health stresses that scientists currently face. The mental health crisis in STEMM is being reflected nationally. For example, record levels of mental illness in the US led President Joseph Biden, in his February 2023 State of the Union Address, to announce that “tackling the mental health crisis” is one of his top priorities. An October 2022 KFF-CNN poll also indicated the extent of the problem nationally: 90% of US adults thought that there was a national mental-health crisis, as evidenced by the opioid epidemic and mental-health issues in children and teens. In January 2023, the National Academies established a roundtable, on mentorship, well-being, and professional development in the STEMM research ecosystem, paying particular attention to impacts on identity, inclusion, personal agency, and mental/financial/social well-being of grad students, postdocs, and faculty. The committee continues to meet through 2023. It will use the perspectives of participating practitioners and researchers to provide innovative examples of supportive services and effective mentorship.
Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Advancing Women in Science Scholarship Applications
Women in STEM jobs still face persistent gender gaps in wages, leadership, and career advancement opportunities. AWIS scholarships support undergraduates, PhD students, and women interested in reentering STEM fields. Applications are now open. If you are studying one of the sciences recognized by the National Science Foundation, these scholarships are for you.
Posted on 14 Dec 2023

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