For NYSCF, gender equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is mission critical. We need 100% of the available brainpower to reach treatments and cures as quickly as possible. To do our part, we launched our Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering (IWISE) to create, implement, and promote actionable strategies for advancing women in STEM.
By convening the brightest, most enthusiastic minds, both men and women, for a series of meetings, we moved beyond simply reflecting on the problems and issues facing women in these fields and outlined solutions. Our IWISE Working Group articulated its plan in a paper entitled, “Seven Actionable Strategies for Advancing Women in Science, Medicine, and Engineering”, which was published in Cell Stem Cell in March of 2015.
We have incorporated these strategies into our own programs and encouraged others to do the same. Most notably, we used the Institutional Report Card for Gender Equality to collect qualitative and quantitative data on gender representation from the departments of all applicants to our extramural grants program. We published an analysis of 500+ institutions in 38 countries over 4 years in the 2019 Cell Stem Cell paper “Institutional Report Cards for Gender Equality: Lessons Learned from Benchmarking Efforts for Women in STEM” (more here).
We are encouraged by many institutions beginning to adopt our actionable strategies and similar approaches to set women in STEM up for success. It is clear that cultural change is needed, and institutions need to work together. Collaborative efforts like IWISE, CWAMS, and others will be critical for achieving gender parity in STEM.
1. Seven Actionable Strategies for Advancing Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
Kristin A. Smith, Paola Arlotta, Fiona M. Watt; Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering Working Group, Susan L. Solomon. Cell Stem Cell. 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2015.02.012
2. Institutional Report Cards for Gender Equality: Lessons Learned from Benchmarking Efforts for Women in STEM
Whitney H. Beeler, Kristin A. Smith-Doody, Richard Ha, Raeka S. Aiyar, Elizabeth Schwarzbach, Susan L. Solomon, Reshma Jagsi. Cell Stem Cell. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2019.08.010