Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
Sign In

Forgot your password?

Haven't registered yet?

Latest News

AWIS Webinar: New Federal Policies Supporting the Family Friendly STEM Workplace

AWIS Webinar: Dual Career Solutions: Successful Recruitment and Retention Strategies

20th Annual Awards and Recognition Banquet

AWIS Central New Jersey: Branding Yourself in a Male Dominated Field

AWIS NY Metropolitan: Career Panel with Scientists from the Cosmetics Industry

Advocacy and Public Engagement
Share |

Advocacy and Public Policy 

From the days of a five minute walk to the nearest ladies room on campus, cramped lab space, and virtually no role models, the climate for women in STEM has improved considerably since AWIS was founded in 1971 to combat these injustices.  While we've made great strides, many invisible barriers to success still exist today.   

Why should you care about advocacy and public policy?  Federal and local legislation has an impact on your pay, your workplace climate, and your grant funding.  Take a look at our public policy platform and join AWIS to take a stand on the top issues affecting women in STEM across the country and in your home community. 

Our Public Policy Platform

The advocacy and equity committee of the AWIS national board sets the direction of public policy for the organization by outlining public policy objectives, developing position statements relevant to AWIS members, and participating in public policy activitiesCheck out all our national advocacy and public policy initiatives by visiting the public policy archives. You can help AWIS spearhead positive change in public policy by making a tax free donation today.

Public Policy Objectives

Empowered by the growing feminist movement, 27 women from different disciplines and institutions came together in April 1971 to address the systemic discrimination and career barriers they faced as female scientists. The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) was founded to address these inequities and their impact on America’s scientific and technological workforce.

Early successes included the legislative efforts which led to the enactment of Title IX and court cases which stopped the improper awarding of grants and traineeships at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Current Public Policy Objectives

  • AWIS believes that women in STEM are prevented from reaching their full potential -- not because they are less able or less willing -- but because of barriers that exist in scientific workplaces. We will carry this message to Congress, to the media, and to employers by:

    • Increasing the interaction with national legislative bodies and federal agencies
    • Developing mechanisms to increase participation and representation of AWIS members in advocacy initiatives
    • Strengthening current partnerships and developing new alliances to leverage effectiveness

  • Advocate for the retention and advancement of women in scientific leadership positions in industry, non-profit organizations and academia
  • Promote gender specific data collection by national, state, and private entities
  • Advocate for STEM institutions and corporations to develop policies that increase gender representation on boards, conference programs, and committees
  • Develop and provide public policy statements on subjects including Title IX, funding for programs targeted toward increasing women and minority representation in science, and the need for family friendly policies


Public Policy Position Statements 

The AWIS Advocacy and Public Education Committee generates "position statements” on topics that directly impact the lives of AWIS members such as Title IX, women scientists in the academic workplace, family-friendly policies, and under-represented minority women in science. 

We receive many requests for position statements and the natioanl board put in place policies which outline the process which you can review here.  But, implementing AWIS’ mission as an advocacy organization requires a lot more than writing policy documents.  Members of the Advocacy and Public Education Committee frequently participate in congressional briefings on diversity, science and technology, and are asked to deal with requests from Capitol Hill. 

Much of this work is done in partnership with colleague organizations such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and a number of discipline-related societies.

Public Policy Position Statements


Applying Title IX to STEM Disciplines

Statistics Links

Reading Recommendations

  • Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering (link)
  • To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering (link)
  • Women Advancing Science, Handelsman J and Birgeneau R. Technology Review (link)
  • Resources
  • Budden, Amber E., Tom Tregenza, Lonnie W. Aarssen, Julia Koricheva, Roosa Leimu, and
    Christopher J. Lortie. 2008. "Double-Blind Review Favours Increased Representation of
    Female Authors.” TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution. 23:4-6.

    Carnes, Molly, Stacie Geller, Jo Handelsman and Jennifer Sheridan. 2005. "NIH Pioneer Awards:
    Could the Selection Process Be Biased Against Women?” Journal of Women’s Health.

    Correll, Shelley J. 2001. "Gender and the Career Choice Process: The Role of Biased Selfassessments."
    American Journal of Sociology. 106:1691-1730.14(8):684-691.

    English, James F. 2005. The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural
    Value. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Frey, Bruno S. 2007 "Awards as Compensation” European Management Review. 4:6-14.

    Goldin, Claudia and Cecilia Rouse. 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of ‘Blind’
    Auditions on Female Musicians.” The American Economic Review 90:715-741.

    Lincoln, Anne E., Stephanie Pincus, and Vanessa Schick. "Predicting Women's Receipt of Physics
    Awards: Do Selection Committees Matter?” unpublished paper.

    McPherson, Miller, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and James M Cook. 2001. "Birds of a Feather: Homophily in
    Social Networks.” Annual Review of Sociology 27:415-444.

    Moreno, Jose, Daryl G. Smith, Sharon Parker, Alma R. Clayton-Pederson, Daniel Hiroyuiki
    Teraguchi. 2006. "Using Multiple Lenses: An Examination of the Economic and
    Racial/Ethnic Diversity of College Students.” A research brief from the James Irvine
    Foundation Campus Diversity Initiative Evaluation Project.

    Steinpreis, Rhea E., Katie A. Anders, Dawn Ritzke. 1999. "The Impact of Gender on the Review of
    the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study.”
    Sex Roles 41:7/8:509-528.

    Sturm, Susan. 2007. "Gender Equity as Institutional Transformation: The Pivotal Role of
    Organizational Catalysts.’” Transforming Science and Engineering: Advancing Academic
    Women. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

    Trix, Frances, Carolyn Psenka. 2003. "Exploring the Color of Glass: Letters of Recommendation for
    the Female and Male Medical Faculty.” Discourse & Society. 14:2:191-220.

    Valian, Virginia. 1998. Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.
    Wenneras, Christine, Agnes Wold. 1997. "Nepotism and Sexism in Peer-Review.” Nature
    387(6631): 341-343.




© 2014 AWIS
Association for Women in Science
1321 Duke Street, Suite 210
Alexandria, Virginia 22314