Advocate for Change
To ensure that all women in science and STEM related fields can achieve their
full potential, our advocacy work focuses on achieving positive system transformation,
equitable workplaces, and recognition of women’s scientific and leadership achievements.
AWIS Members from DC, Maryland, Massachusetts,
and Texas, join AWIS CEO Meredith Gibson to advocate
for legislation that advances diversity in STEM.
Areas of Focus
Each year the STEM community loses creative, driven, highly educated women who could develop better medicines, invent smarter technologies, and engineer solutions to make the world we share a better place. They leave workplace environments which tolerate bullying and harassment. Organization leaders must create and enforce anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies to retain women in science.
Throughout history, racism and bias have made their way into science. Flagrant injustice such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, forced sterilization, and experimentation without informed consent are less common today. Yet implicit and unconscious bias still affect what gets studied, who is funded to perform the research, and the demographics included in clinical trials. Together we must fight systemic racism.
In a growing number of states, policymakers are working to restrict discussion of topics such as race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities. These concepts should not be divisive. Learning about the experiences of others should generate a greater understanding of one another, feelings of empathy, and acceptance. DEI education helps diverse groups work together more effectively.
Bias affects everything from hiring, pay, and advancement decisions to what research is conducted, who is patented, who is published, and who wins awards. Women leave the STEM workforce at twice the rate of men due to the bias, harassment, and inequity that they experience. Individuals must stand against bias when they see it. Employers must build, maintain, and enforce safe and inclusive workplaces.
AWIS has gathered resources to help you find women candidates to support, run for office, vote in local elections, or engage in civil discourse.
Support for Caregivers
Whether caring for young children, disabled adults, or elderly relatives, women traditionally bear more of the burden for caregiving than men which can negatively impact their careers. Primary caregivers are often unfairly perceived as less dedicated employees than their counterparts. They are offered fewer professional opportunities and are paid less. Organization leaders must avoid and counteract caregiving biases and support caregivers with flexible schedules and resources to help them succeed.
Title IX offers protections and recourse for women, LGBTQIA+ students, pregnant and parenting students, and victims of sexual assault. Despite 50 years of progress, there is still more work to do to ensure discrimination and harassment-free educational settings. Institutions must move beyond legal compliance and instead address the campus cultures that allow violations to continue.
Coalitions and Committees AWIS Supports
How can you get involved?
Watch our advocacy webinars, led by seasoned AWIS advocates.
Download and read the AWIS Advocacy Toolkit.
Public Policy and Advocacy at the Local Level
Advocacy for Scientists: Five Tips for Sustained Action
Scientists are the experts that scientists rely on for shaping policy. Combining expertise and personal narrative with sustained action, you can be a powerful force for change. Use these five tips as guidance to get started.
Advocacy from Home or Office
Resources to help you find, research, and contact your local representatives
- Call script and letter writing template
- Legislative representative lookup tool
- Legislation tracking tools
Take your Messaging to the Next Level
We know that some AWIS chapters are ready to merge their STEM and advocacy. Find out tips and tricks to take your advocacy to the next level.
- AWIS Talking Points
- Draft your own talking points for causes you are working towards
Tips and Tricks and Promising Practices
Explore the best practices for effective outreach
- General tips and tricks
- Making phone calls
- Holding face-to-face meetings
- Writing emails or letter
Give us feedback
AWIS has been working on crafting these resources for our members and we want to hear from you. Is this what you want from National? Which resources were the most useful? Where should we expand?