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AWIS in Action: 2011 Advocacy and Public Policy Archive



H.Res. 91
"Expressing the support of the House of Representatives for efforts to increase diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and recognizing the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) for its 40 years of service to broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM."
H.R. 889
"Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering"
H.R. 1519
"Paycheck Fairness Act"


January 2011
Regulatory Agenda Meeting - OFCCP

Sponsoring Agency:
Department of Labor
Coming Crises in Science and Technology Policy
Discussion and Honoring Professor Chris T. Hill for years of service and education in the science policy field
Sponsoring Agency: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), George Mason University
Looking at Equal Employment: Where We've Come and Where We're Going
Presentations and Discussion by Peggy Mastroianni, Associate Legal Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Ann Hopkins, nominated for partnership at Price Waterhouse in 1982 only to be denied, and pursued her lawsuit ultimately to the Supreme Court and became the first court-ordered partner of a communications firm.
February 2011
Synthetic Biology: the President's Bioethics Commission Report 
Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethics released its first report entitled "New Directions: the Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies" with panel discussion by the Commission's Executive Director, Valerie Bonham, and member Nelson Michael, MD, PhD. 
Incentive Prizes: A New Frontier in Biomedical Innovation
Panel discussion and presentations on recent advances in ALS research, highlighting the incentive prize model for accelerating research for treatments and cures.
Sponsoring Agency: Prize 4 Life, AAAS
Increasing Minority Participation in STEM Fields
Congressional briefing on the National Academy of Sciences report "Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads" which offers a comprehensive roadmap for increasing involvement of underrepresented minorities and improving the quality of their education. Speakers included Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Congressman Mike Honda, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMD and author of the report, Shirley Malcom of Education and Human Resources at AAAS.
Meeting with Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick and Rep. Lacy Clay
President-Elect of AWIS Susan Fitzpatrick met with Congressman Lacy Clay to discuss issues of women in STEM, the mission of AWIS, and recent initiatives such as H.R. 889 "Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering" that will improve the status of women and climate in faculty departments of STEM fields.
March 2011
Increasing Diversity in STEM Education and Partnerships
Congressional briefing on the importance of alternative pathways to science careers, feeding the STEM pipeline, and highlighting the efforts of San Francisco State University in creating opportunities for underrepresented groups to participate in STEM fields and remain in the workforce.
Sponsoring Agency: SFSU
Women in STEM Live Webcast at US Department of State
AWIS President Dr. Joan Herbers moderated a panel with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Kerri-Ann Jones, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day on March 8th.
Sponsoring Agency: Department of State, EPA
Blast Off! Encouraging Our Brightest Stars to Enter and Stay in STEM Fields
Hosted by Congresswoman Donna Edwards, keynote speaker Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director of the Women's Bureau (DoL) and panel discussions included Finding and Forming STEM Talent P-20, Building the STEM Workforce, Successful Models and Partnerships with speakers from education, outreach organizations, and the National Science Foundation.
National Council of Women's Organizations
NCWO met with over 50 member organizations present to discuss a host of issues, including CEDAW, work-family legislation in Congress and the states, and women's employment and training issues in the budget
Improving Work-Life Fit in Hourly Jobs
Joan C. Williams, UC Hastings College of the Law presented data from "Improving Work-Life Fit in Hourly Jobs: An Underutilized Cost-Cutting Strategy in a Globalized World" and panel presenters included Lisa Disselkamp, President of Athena Enterprises; Lora Geiger, Director of HR at TURCK Inc.; and Jeff Marinelli, former Senior Director of HR Services of Capital One Financial Corporation. All spoke on the topic of work-life fit in hourly jobs and strategies for maximizing productivity while minimizing costs. See resources here.
Sponsoring Agency: New America Foundation
STEM 101: An Overview of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Policy and Issues
Congressional briefing on policy issues in the 112th Congress related to STEM education with speakers Victoria Rockwell, President-Elect of ASME; Congressman Daniel Lipinski, Co-Chair House Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Caucus; Heather Gonzales (science and technology policy specialist) and Jeff Kuenzi (education policy specialist) from the Congressional Research Service; Edward Swallow, VP at Northrop Grumman Information Systems and Chairman of the STEM Workforce Division at National Defense Industrial Association (see presentation); and James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition.
Sponsoring Agencies: ASME, ACS, AAUW, NCTM, NDIA, NSTA, SWE
STEM Ed Coalition Testimony on FY2012 Budget Request for NSF
Read Testimony here, supporting the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request of $911.2 million for the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Directorate

Title IX Stakeholder Meeting with Assistant Secretary, Russlynn Ali
Advocates for Title IX from all sectors came to the Department of Education to meet with Assistant Secretary, Russlynn Ali and Jenny Kaplan from the White House Council on Women and Girls, members from the Office of Civil Rights, and other officials to discuss what has been done and what still needs work in regards to Title IX compliance.
Sponsoring Agency: Department of Education
Changing Roles of Women in Academic Leadership
A panel of college presidents discussed what it took to succeed and the future challenges for women in academe. Moderated by Donne Kampel, associate dean of faculty, Touro College, and author of Learning Leadership: Women Presidents of Colleges and Universities, panelists include Teresa A. Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia; Catharine Bond Hill, President of Vassar College; H. Kim Bottomly, President of Wellesley College; and S. Georgia Nugent, President of Kenyon College.
Sponsoring Agency: William McGowan Fund, Inc., National Archives
High School students from ten different states gathered at the Convention Center in Washington, DC to compete in a game called "Logomotion" in which their individually designed robots must perform tasks under a time constraint. Among the highlights were all-girls teams "Girls of Steel" and the seasoned "Firebirds" who showed their doubting male colleagues that Yes - girls can build robots, too!
Sponsoring Agency: SAIC and other corporate sponsors
Women in Military Service for America Memorial
Defense and National Security-Related Women's Associations Celebrated Women's History Month with a breakfast and networking session and tour of the Women in Military Serice for America Memorial. Women In Defense (WID), A National Security Organization and affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association, provides its members with opportunities for professional development and networking, cultivating the advancement of women leaders in government and industry professions. Both women and men belong to WID and attend WID meetings. For more information visit
Sponsoring Agency: WID, NDIA
April 2011
Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context
Review of the existing international knowledge base and exemplary policies and programs designed to enhance the status and participation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and careers with a focus on three disciplines: chemistry, mathematics, and computer science.
Sponsoring Agency: National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Math
Steps Taken on the Path Forward: the Future of Graduate Education in the United States
Following on the successful release of The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States report last year, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) convened a forum of policymakers, business and higher education leaders to discuss how stakeholders are using this valuable resource. Initiatives at the local, regional, and national level were highlighted as "best practices” to ensure America does not fall behind in the global competition for human talent. Working independently and collaboratively these three sectors can help meet the challenges of the 21st century global economy through investment and support of the graduate education enterprise.
Industry Speakers: Kurt Landgraf, President and CEO, Educational Testing Service; Stanley Litow, VP of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM and President of IBM's Foundation; Ronald Townsend, Executive VP for Global Laboratory Operations, Battelle Memorial Institute
Invited Graduate Deans: Robert Augustine, Dean of the Graduate School, Eastern Illinois University; Lisa Tedesco, Vice Provost & Dean, Laney Graduate School, Emory University; James Wimbush, Dean, The University Graduate School, Indiana University; Patrick Osmer, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School, The Ohio State University
New Voices for Pay Equity
Congressional briefing on the gender pay gap, from the perspectives of Public Health, Engineering, University Professors, Public Relations, and Policy. The event brought together industry leaders and AAUW experts to discuss new evidence of pay inequities across professions and to discuss legislative remedies.

Read AAUW's full report (PDF) on fair pay: "The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap"
Sponsoring Agency: AAUW
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Capitol Hill Day
Advocacy Training and Congressional Hill visits with women engineers and volunteer AWIS members.
Visits included meetings about "Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering" (H.R. 889) with Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Tom Udall, Rep. Lujan, and Rep. Heinrich.
Prosperity 2050: Is Equity a Superior Growth Model?
Some of the nation’s top economists, policy analysts, and thought leaders convened to discuss the relationship between economic inclusion, long-term economic growth and competitiveness, and policy changes that can create an economy that works for all Americans. They report that equity is a superior growth model for our country's economic prosperity.
Speakers included: Vanessa Cárdenas, Director of Progress 2050, Center for American Progress; Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PolicyLink; Manuel Pastor, Professor of Geography and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California; Director, USC's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE); Emmanuel Saez, Director, Center for Equitable Growth; E. Morris Cox Professor of Economics, University of California Berkeley; Bill Spriggs, Assistant Secretary of Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; John Podesta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for American Progress; Don Chen, Senior Program Officer, Ford Foundation; Bob Herbert, Journalist; Former New York Times columnist; Mariko Chang, Author; Independent Consultant; Denise Fairchild, President, Emerald Cities; Janice Nittoli, Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation
Read the Full Report: Equity as a Superior Growth Model
Commemmoration of Equal Pay Day
May 2011
Science and Technology Challenges and Opportunities in the Obama Administration
Director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) & Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Dr. John P. Holdren, gave the Alan Bromley Memorial Lecture at George Washington University.

Sponsoring Agency: Center for International Science and Technology Policy, University of Ottawa
Women - The New Breadwinners
Speakers discussed the new role of women in society in the United States and Sweden, as primary breadwinners of their households and having increased importance to the economic security of American families.
Sponsoring Agency: The House of Sweden
Let Me Be Clear: Science Journalism in the Age of the Genome and Twitter
Leaders in science, health communications, journalism, public health and public policy explored ways journalists and scientists can work together in today’s fast-changing environment.
Research!America, with the University of Maryland and Pfizer, presented a Research Partners Forum. Results from a new Maryland poll, presented by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley, provided a springboard for an interactive conversation about media, health research, science, and public policy in a time of increasing complexity in all of these areas. Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, moderated two high-level panel discussions, each followed by Q&A.
Sponsoring Agency: Research!America
 June 2011
Chemicals in Our Lives: Science and Perceptions
Policymakers face a difficult challenge to maintain the public's trust while crafting science-based regulatory policies. In a timely discussion for the International Year of Chemistry, the panelists explored how the scientific community communicates information about the risks of the substances we encounter in daily life, how the public percieves these risks, the role played by the media, and implications for policy.
Speakers: John R. "Jack" Fowle III, Deputy Director of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Joe Schwarcz, McGill University's Office for Science and Society; Nancy Shute, science writer and journalist for NPR; David Ropeik, Harvard University professor and author of "How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts".
Combating Pay Secrecy Congressional Briefing
Nearly 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, women working full time are paid just 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. All too often, wage disparities go undetected because employers may prohibit or strongly discourage workers from sharing salary information with colleagues. A woman might be illegally underpaid for years before she finds out—if she finds out at all. Such pay secrecy is unfair to individual women and to their families who have to make do with less. This panel reviewed research on pay secrecy and discussed policy solutions, including the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Speakers: Carol Golubock, Director of Policy, SEIU- Service Employees International Union; Ariane Hegewisch, Study Director, Institute for Women’s Policy Research; Fatima Goss Graves
Vice President for Education and Employment, National Women’s Law Center; Carol Joyner, National Director of Public Policy, Labor Project for Working Families.
The Innovation Policy Saga 2006 - 2016
Dr. John Lechleiter, President and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, offered keynote remarks on the urgency of closing America’s innovation deficit. Following his remarks, distinguished public and private sector leaders discussed what the U.S. has done right or wrong in the last five years on innovation policy and what innovation policy should look like in 2016 (when ITIF marks its 10th anniversary) for the U.S. to meet the challenges it faces.

Speakers: Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF); Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP); Senator Chris Coons (D-DE); Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA);  John Engler, Former Governor of Michigan & Presdient of Business Roundtable; Ron Heintzman, ATU President of AFL-CIO, and Edward Luce Little, journalist and author of "Spirit of the Gods, Rise of Modern India".
Sponsored by: ITIF
July 2011
President Obama Twitter Townhall
Tens of thousands from all over the country Tweeted to #AskObama about the issues most pressing to our nation. @AWISnational said, "Women in Science want to what the administration is doing to enforce Title IX in STEM faculty departments?" 
Although we did not get a specific response during the discussion, this type of engagement is encouraging, and we hope to see more of it coming from the White House.
Sponsored by: The White House and Twitter
Women's Leaders Representing Millions Call for Budget Plan Addressing the Needs of Women and Families
The National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) launched a public, nationwide campaign demanding consideration of wome's concerns in the face of upcoming budget decisions. Speakers discussed the impact of cuts to programs on women, and proposed alternative ways to promote job growth and better economy for all.
Sponsored by: NCWO
Child Care in Race to the Top: Will the New Federal Competition Foster Innovation and Bring More Attention to the Needs of Parents and Childen?
President Obama announced a $500 million federal grant competition to improve early childhood education in America. This competition, modeled on the Race to the Top program that spotlighted the need for public school reform, has the potential to increase the focus on the importance of children’s earliest years of life for healthy cognitive and social development. This comes at a time when Congress and the states are thinking about ways to improve child care.

Will innovations in child care result? Which states are already making changes to their child care systems that may give them a leg up in the competition? What resources will be needed to scale up those innovations? The New America Foundation hosted a conversation about early learning in child care settings and how dual generational child care policies can support families.
© 2014 AWIS
Association for Women in Science
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