The History of AWIS National, Established in 1971
Estelle Ramey, PhD
The Association for Women in Science (AWIS), founded in 1971, is the leading organization that advocates on behalf of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. AWIS has helped guide Congress, the United Nations, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, institutions and other professional organizations on decisions and best practices to achieve gender diversity and positive system transformation in STEM. With a 50-year history of championing women in science and over 30 grassroots chapters, AWIS offers opportunities for professional development, recognition, and networking with members, allies and supporters worldwide.
Inspired by the Women’s Rights Movement and fired up by frustration and injustice in their own personal careers, thirty-five women establish the Association for Women in Science, incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in New York State in September.
AWIS Takes on NIH
AWIS et al. v Richardson and Marston—National Institutes of Health (NIH) is required to freeze appointments to
study sections and advisory groups until women are given the chance to suggest names for the open positions. AWIS files suit against the NIH for underrepresentation of women.
Moving on Up
Estelle Ramey, AWIS President, establishes the first national office of AWIS at 1717 R Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.
From Humble Beginnings
Mary Moller, Jeri Sechzer, and Anne Briscoe found the first AWIS chapter in Greater New York.
Success on Two Fronts
NAACP and AWIS win a lawsuit against the
Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for discrimination in higher education on the basis of sex and race.
AWIS Wins Lawsuit Against the NIH
Parity in Toronto
AWIS annual meeting convenes in Toronto in conjunction with AAAS’s annual meeting, to discuss the theme of building gender parity in math education.
AWIS and other women’s organizations,
prompt President Jimmy Carter to proclaim the first “National Women’s History Week.”
The first symposium on “Women in Science” meets in
Washington, D.C., to promote equal pay and status for women scientists.
Together We Are Stronger
AWIS joins the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE), a group of nongovernmental organizations that works on a broad range of issues affecting the rights and opportunities of women and girls in education.
AWIS cosponsors a history of women in science symposium in Chicago at the AAAS annual meeting.
At First Glance
Grants-At-A-Glance is founded as first comprehensive compendium of funding opportunities made available to AWIS members.
AWIS spearheads the Environmental and Scientific Taskforces for the Coalition for Women’s Appointments which support over eighty organizations.
NASA, DoE, and AWIS
AWIS cosponsors the “Taking the Initiative!” leadership conference with NASA, and the Department of Energy.
AWIS at the UN
Accredited as a United Nations NGO, AWIS attends the “UN Fourth World Conference on Women” held in China, creating the first science and technology caucus for a
UN Women’s Conference.
AWIS wins the Presidential Mentoring Award for supporting future scientists.
AWIS Board Member is appointed to the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology (CAWM-SET) report, published in July 2000.
AWIS staff testify in Congress on “The Advancement of Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development Act” (H.R. 3007).
Sloan Foundation Mentoring Grant is awarded to AWIS for developing the Institutional Climate Assessment Survey and Model Academic Policies.
AWIS hosts the leaders of NSF and RPI (the former head of the Atomic Energy Commission) and publishes a report on overcoming the barriers that women face due to bias.
Remarks and Rebuttal
Following remarks made by Harvard’s president,
Lawrence Summers, AWIS launches media campaign in rebuttal.
The Elsevier Grant
Elsevier Foundation grants AWIS an award to launch national Work/Life Balance Program.
Carol Greider becomes the first AWIS member to earn the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her work on telomeres.
After winning the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE grant, AWIS’ AWARDS Project proves women are underrepresented among recipients of scholarly awards.
Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of AWIS, in conjunction with the AAAS annual meeting, takes place in Washington, D.C.
Hastings School of Law
AWIS partners with Hastings School of Law to compare the costs of implementing three best practice policies with the costs of a “leaky” pipeline.
Top Mathematical Statistician as AWIS Spokesperson
AWIS announced the selection of Dr. Lee-Ann Hayek as AWIS spokesperson for the International Year of Statistics 2013 (IYSTAT).
AWIS & Partners Lead Global Dialogue
AWIS, with more than 1,400 organizations in 111 countries, combine energies to promote the International Year of Statistics, a worldwide initiative highlighting contributions of the statistics field to finding solutions to global challenges.
Presidential Inaugural Festivities
AWIS featured in Presidential Inaugural Festivities and invited to participate on a panel about the importance of mentoring in STEM.
At “Filling the Skills Gap: The Untapped Resource,” AWIS partners with Aspen Institute to highlight dearth
of women in advanced manufacturing.
Ohio State University
AWIS and Ohio State University partner on 2015 National Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship: A Roadmap for Inclusion.
Capitol Hill Briefing
AWIS joins the American Astronomical Association for Capitol Hill Briefing: State of the Universe highlighting diversity in STEM.
United Nations Address
AWIS President Ann Lee Karlon addresses the United Nations on the occasion of the First International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
United State of Women Summit
AWIS represents #WomeninScience at the White House’s United State of Women Summit.
STEM to Market
AWIS awarded prestigious $420,000 Inclusion Challenge grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to launch STEM to Market (S2M), a two-part program that provides entrepreneurial awareness, skills, and support to a diversity of STEM women.
AWIS members around the country joins millions for the Women’s March.
The United States government agency tasked with promoting and funding research and development of advanced energy technologies Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy partners with AWIS on Women in Energy event.
Revolutionizing the STEM Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
AWIS releases groundbreaking signature report Revolutionizing the STEM Entrepreneurship Ecosystem.
Innovation Summit Awards
As part of its annual Summit, AWIS launches an awards program to recognize individuals and companies that promote workplace equality, diversity and inclusion.
‘Hidden Figures’ Congressional Gold Medal Act
AWIS endorses the bipartisan Senate bill to recognize Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Dr. Christine Darden – the African American women mathematicians that contributed to the United States’ victory in the Space Race.
Combating Sexual Harassment
AWIS endorses the House bill “Combating Sexual Harassment in Sciences Act of 2018,” which aims to understand and address sexual harassment in the sciences.
The ARC Network
AWIS launches the ARC Network, the STEM equity brain trust, a priority initiative to create meaningful systemic change in academia.
Equity in STEM Community Convening
The first ever Equity in STEM Community Convening, hosted by AWIS’ ARC Network, serves as a meeting space for researchers, practitioners, and change agents dedicated to creating equitable STEM workplaces.
Science is in the spotlight, but shutdowns and social distancing take a toll. AWIS responds with its first virtual career fair and increases the frequency of member communications. AWIS membership embraces the move to an all-digital publication strategy.
Repeated acts of racial violence in the U.S. ignite global protests. AWIS issues a public statement against systemic racism, develops a robust Antiracism resource library, and creates discussion opportunities.
AWIS makes a strategic decision to reclaim its focus on women in science and strengthens member programming to address current social and professional challenges such as sponsoring a screening of the documentary Picture a Scientist and hosting a discussion on the harassment and implicit bias women in science continue to experience.
AWIS celebrates the impact we have made over the last 50 years, connects with people and organizations that share our mission, and commits to continue championing women in science.