Antiracism Advocacy: Past and Present
Since our founding in 1971, AWIS has had roots in STEM social justice advocacy. Inspired by the Women’s Rights and Civil Rights Movements and frustrated by injustice in their own careers, thirty-five women established AWIS to create equitable careers for all women in science.
AWIS History in Advocacy
In 1975, AWIS partnered with the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to win a lawsuit against the Office of Civil Rights for discrimination in higher education on the basis of sex and race.
Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, AWIS centered its policy work on equal pay, affirmative action, employment and educational discrimination, and civil rights and included support for the passage of the Civil Rights Restoration Act (1982) and the Civil Rights Act (1990). During this period, AWIS also paved the way for the creation of the committee on equal opportunities in science and technology at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NSF Visiting Professorships for Women.
In the current social and political context, we again are at a pivotal moment of change.
Recent Examples of AWIS Advocacy
More recently, AWIS has focused on evidence-based advocacy at the intersections of gender and racial equity in innovation, science research funding, anti-harassment policy, employment and educational opportunity, pay, and member civil engagement. Here is just a small sampling of this work:
1. Legislation AWIS has backed and given research-based input on
2. Advocacy Letters
- ICE Ruling Letters (a, b)
- Statement on Systemic Racism
- Call for NASEM study on the influence of systemic racism in academia
- Letter in response to 9/22 Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping
- Institute for Women’s Policy Research Working Group on Diversity in Patenting and Innovation
4. Testimony and Presentations
- UN International Day of Women and Girls in Stem (2019, 2018, 2017)
- USCCR Public Briefing: Federal Me Too
- United States – Vietnam 10th Joint Committee Meeting on Science & Technology
5. Member Civil Engagement
- Annual Capitol Hill Days in partnership with the Society of Women Engineers
How you can get involved
1. Learn about the intersections of sexism and racism
- Watch: Kimberlé Crenshaw’s Ted Talk (18:41)
- Read: Intersectionality: A Critical Framework for STEM Equity
2. Discover how these influenced STEM
- Read: Science must clean up it’s act
- Read: Oscar-Nominated “Hidden Figures” and the Ongoing Legacy of Overlooked Contributions in STEM
3. Review and share antiracism resources