About AWIS

AWIS History

The History of AWIS National, Established in 1971

Estelle Ramey, PhD
Founding Mother

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. AWIS is a global network with 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM with members, allies and supporters worldwide. Learn more about the contributions of AWIS.



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.

Estelle_Ramey_at_work (2)


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.


Presidential Proclamation

At the request of women’s organizations,
President Jimmy Carter proclaims the first
“National Women’s History Week,” incorporating International Women’s Day on March 8th.



Scientific Symposium

Symposium on “Women in Science” meets in
Washington, D.C., with the theme of improving the status of women in science and promoting equal pay.


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 Leads

AWIS chairs the Coalition for Women’s Appointments Environmental and Scientific Taskforces, involving over eighty organizations.



“Taking the Initiative! A Leadership Conference for Women in Science and Engineering,” cosponsored by AWIS, NASA, and the Department of Energy (DoE), meets in Washington, D.C.


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.


Presidential Award

AWIS wins the Presidential Mentoring Award for Creating Tomorrow’s Scientists: Models of Community Mentoring.



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 Testifies

AWIS staff testify in Congress on “The Advancement of Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development Act” (H.R. 3007).


Grant Awardee

Sloan Foundation Mentoring Grant is awarded to AWIS for development of Institutional Climate Assessment Survey and Model Academic Policies.



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.


Nobel Laureate

Carol Greider, the first AWIS member to receive the
Nobel Prize in Medicine, is recognized for her work on telomeres.



AWARDS Project headed by Phoebe Leboy, funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE grant, is launched. Collaboration begins with STEM disciplinary societies to address the underrepresentation of women among recipients of scholarly awards.


40th Anniversary

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 provide institutions with solid economic data that compares 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.


Aspen Institute

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.


Women’s March

AWIS members around the country joins millions for the Women’s March.


ARPA-E Partners

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 Report Issued

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.


AWIS Endorses ‘Hidden Figures’ Congressional Gold Medal Act

AWIS endorses bipartisan Senate bill to recognize African American female mathematicians that contributed to the United States’ victory in the Space Race and award the ‘Hidden Figures’ Congressional Gold Medal Act, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Dr. Christine Darden, the highest award the United
States can bestow to a civilian, the Congressional Gold Medal.


AWIS Endorses Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2018

AWIS endorses the Combating Sexual Harassment in Sciences Act of 2018, introduced by Science, Space and Technology House Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson. Through research and action, the House bill helps understand the prevalence of and addresses sexual harassment in the sciences.


AWIS Names Sandra W. Robert, CAE, New CEO

“I am honored to serve the women who are advancing the world through their talents as STEM professionals, and to work with the outstanding Board and staff of AWIS to support their achievements” said Robert. “As we face the continued pressures of social, political, and environmental change, we need to ensure the access and equity of all talented professionals to the table, and AWIS is uniquely positioned to play a key leadership role in doing so.  I am eager, at this pivotal time in our history, to convene the AWIS community in collaboration with like-minded partners, toward impactful change for women’s success in STEM professions.”


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.

1667 K Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 588-8175


1667 K Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 588-8175

© 2019 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2017 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.