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Upcoming EVENTS

Scoping Workshop on Supporting Parents and Caregivers in STEMM
December 2, 2019 
Washington, DC

Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
December 2-3, 2019
Washington, DC

CWSEM Bi-annual Meeting
December 2-3, 2019
Washington, DC

Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education 2019 Public Summit
November 19-20, 2019
Seattle, WA

Staying Power: A convening to examine what it takes for postdoctoral women to stay and thrive in science
November 6, 2019
Washington, DC

Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women of Color in Technical Disciplines Committee Meeting #1
October 24, 2019
Washington, DC

More past events...

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Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Keck Center
500 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: 202.334.2389
Fax: 202.334.2290 


CWSEM News and Highlights

Science Editorial: Level the Playing Field for Women in STEM - July 2013Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of Science, underscored the need to advocate for more women in STEM disciplines from a high-level group such as CWSEM. The article noted that women are still underrepresented in many STEM disciplines, and they do not advance professionally at the same rate as men. It was emphasized that policies need to take into account the culture of the organization in order to be effective, or they may "go against unwritten culture expectations about what young professionals need to do to be successful in the eyes of their peers". Read the full editorial | Download PDF 

Leaning in or Creating Their Own Path? Workshop on Career Outcomes of Women Engineers - April, 2013

Leaning in or creating their own path? In order to examine the career outcomes of female engineers, CWSEM convened a workshop on April 24, 2013 with the support from the National Science Foundation (under award 1137641). The workshop, coinciding with the 2013 National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Convocation of Professional Engineering Societies, looked into the career outcomes of female recipients of bachelor’s degrees in engineering and related research on women in technology. At the workshop, Dr. Gail Greenfield, Principal at Mercer Consulting, shared her analysis of engineering students’ post-graduation experiences – education, employment and family experiences using data from Department of Education’s Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B) Longitudinal Study. Dr. Nadya Fouad and Dr. Romila Singh from University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, presented their research on why do women leave engineering and what women do after they graduate with engineering degrees. A group of graduate students from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College presented their study which examined women in IT in small and medium businesses as well as the barriers for women’s recruitment, retention and advancement in those companies. This gathering of representatives from professional science and federal agencies generated fruitful discussions. Over 400 colleagues streamed in and listened to the audio webcast of the workshop. We hope that the workshop will stimulate research, conversation and actions that contribute to more effective practices and successful programs in recruiting and retaining female engineers in the workforce. A workshop summary report will be published by the National Academies Press in fall 2013. Presentation slides and audio recordings.

Women Scientists in the Americas: Their Inspiring Stories - April 2013

The InterAmerican Network of Sciences Academies (IANAS) will launch its new book Women Scientists in the Americas: Their Inspiring Stories on April 17, 2013 at the National Academies. The book was released on International Women's Day and features 16 interviews with prominent female scientists from 16 IANAS member academies. Through the interviews, the book encourages students - particularly young women - to consider science as a career. Free downloads of the English and Spanish versions of the book are available on The book launch event will feature the US scientist portrayed in the book: Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and member of the National Academy of Engineering. The launch event, organized by IANAS and its Women for Science Working Group, will take place in the Lecture Room at the National Academy of Sciences Building (2101 Constitution Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20418) at 10:00 am on April 17.  

CWSEM Conference Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talents by Advancing Women of Color in Academia - June 2012

CWSEM hosted a conference Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia on June 7-8, 2012 in Washington, DC. The changing demographics in our country and increasing international competition underscore the need for a more diverse STEM workforce to ensure the country maintains its scientific vitality, economic prosperity, and national security. This gathering of representatives from institutions of higher education, professional science and engineering societies and federal agencies was convened to discuss the current status of women of color in academia and explore the challenges and successful initiatives for creating the institutional changes required to increase representation of women of color at all levels of the academic workforce.

The conference addressed the importance of this issue and included five breakout discussions on "What Data Can & Cannot Tell Us?", "Using a Legal Framework Successfully", "How Does Gender Bias Differ by Race and Ethnicity?", "Where Are Women of Color: Contingent & Administrative Positions in Academia?" and "Work-life and Career Issues for Women of Color". Effective programs and practices were highlighted to shed light on future actions that will help advance institutional transformations. For more information, please visit the conference website. Conference Agenda and Presentations | Written Testimonies

CWSEM lauches the workshop summary report Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context - October 2012

CWSEM lauched a workshop summary report Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context at the National Academies' Keck Center on October 18, 2012. CWSEM Chair Dr. Rita Colwell gave the welcome at the launch. Dr. Susan Gardner, Deputy Director at the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation from US Department of State delivered remarks on the global context for women in STEM and introduced Department of State's recent efforts on increasing women's participation and advancement in STEM globally. Lisa M. Frehill, Principal Analyst at Energetic Technology Center, Willie Pearson, Jr., Professor of Sociology from Georgia Institute of Technology and Catherine Didion, Director of CWSEM, led a panel discussion of the report's major findings, impact and next steps. The event brought over 75 attendees including representatives from National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, NASA, US Navy, US Department of State and several professional societies and generated a fruitful discussion. Over 300 visitors streamed in to listen to the audio webcast of the event. Learn more about the report launch | Download PDF of the report

NAE Workshop Creating a Game-Changing Environment for All in the Industrial Workforce - May, 2012

The Workshop Creating a Game-Changing Environment for All in the Industrial Workforce will review the existing data and exemplary policies and programs designed to enhance the status and participation of women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines with a focus on industrial careers. This is an event for the National Academy of Engineering's project that is focused on the status of women and underrepresented minorities in scientific and engineering industries. The workshop will be held on May 21 at the National Academies' Keck Center. Workshop Agenda

African Women Scientists and Engineers Visited The National Academies - April, 2012

On April 24, a group of African women scientists and engineers visited the National Academies and met with CWSEM staff. The meeting provided an opportunity for the group to network and discuss with the Academies staff about practices and programs that advance women in scientific research and innovation. Grant programs that support collaborative research project between the US and counterparts in developing countries were also discussed. This group was hosted by the US Department of States’ Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs’ Office of International visitors and was selected by U.S. embassy officers in nine countries to visit the United States on the State Department International Visitor Leadership Program. These women were in the U.S. to review the evolution and advancement of U.S. women in scientific research and innovation; illustrate policies, organizations and educational institutions that champion the interest of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program provided opportunities for the visitors to network with professional counterparts at scientific academies, associations, universities and agencies across the United States as well as showcases their scientific accomplishments through participation in a conference/workshop/symposium. These women also visited schools that promote math and science, especially for girls, examined public/private partnerships designed to accelerate student learning in STEM subjects, especially for girls from diverse backgrounds and learned about programs that promote mathematics for women.

Federal Demonstration Partnership's Task Force on Parental and Family Leave for Research Trainees Releases Report A Forgotten Class of Scientists - March, 2012

The report A Forgotten Class of Scientists: Examining the Parental and Family Benefits Available to Research Trainee was prepared by the Federal Demonstration Partnership’s Task Force on Parental and Family Leave for Research Trainees. The report, which was released in March 2012, describes finds from FDP member institution representatives and data from prior reports to provide a consolidated summary of recommendations for the equitable treatment of postdoctoral researchers and employees with regard to parental and family leave. The recommendations include calls for (1) collaboration and partnerships; (2) further research into existing and efficacious programs and their costs; (3) policy reform, including a minimum baseline for all research trainees; (4) institutional climate change and support; and (5) increased outreach and dissemination of clear policies at academic institutions and federal agencies. Catherine Didion, director of CWSEM, participated as a member in the Task Force which was charged with: (1) providing information that enables federal agencies and universities to remove barriers for young people to become the next generation of scientific researchers; and (2) providing information that can increase clarity and streamline processes for university administrators and federal agencies associated with parental and family leave for research trainees. Download Executive Summary | Download Full Report

Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind - September, 2011

The paper Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind, co-authored by Lilian Wu, Chair (Emeritus) of CWSEM and Wei Jing, Research Associate of the Policy and Global Affairs at the National Academies, examines Asian female scientists and engineers' participation and advancement in STEM careers. The data presented in the paper point to the existence of a double bind for Asian women, facing both a bamboo ceiling because of Asian stereotyping and a glass ceiling because of implicit gender bias. The scarcity of Asian women in upper management and leadership positions merits greater attention, more targeted programmatic efforts, and inclusion in the national discussion of the STEM workforce. This paper was published on Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2011, Vol 28, Issue 1. Read the paper online | Download PDF of the paper

The White House and National Science Foundation Announce New Workplace Flexibility Policies - September, 2011

On September 26, 2011 the White House and National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the “NSF Career – Life Balance Initiative”, which is a 10-year plan to enhance flexibility for men and women in research careers.  View the full press release.  These policies include, but are not limited to: delayed starts of NSF funded projects for family-related reasons, extensions of research grant timelines for child birth interruptions, and funding for technicians to perform research in cases of parental leave. These NSF initiatives reinforce efforts by the White House under President Obama to engage government agencies, universities, and industry to institute polices that create greater flexibility in the workplace that lead to optimal work-life balances for both men and women. Additionally, these policies further reflect discussions from the November 2010 Roundtable of Representatives from Federal Agencies and Professional Societies, where CWSEM engaged representatives from relevant stakeholder organizations, including NSF, to address the needs of postdoctoral and early career researchers. View the Meeting Recap.

U.S. State Department Meeting: Changing Mindsets to Promote Women and Girls in Science - June, 2011

June 13, 2011 a symposium “Changing Mindsets to Promote Women and Girls in Science” gathered more than 100 scientists, engineers, educators and representatives from the private sector and foreign governments at the U.S. State Department. The symposium examined programs and policies that are making positive impact on attracting girls to STEM fields, keeping them interested in STEM through college, and providing concrete tools for women to maintain them at every level of their scientific careers. Institutional transformation and practices that help shape perceptions about women, girls and STEM were also discussed at the meeting.CWSEM successfully brought 15 women scientists and engineers from Africa and the Middle East to participate in the symposium and was delighted to be one of the partners supporting this event.