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What Have We Learned from the NSF ADVANCE Program and What’s Next?

Special Session 209

From the program of the 225th AAS Meeting in Seattle:


As exemplified by the recent CSWA Demographics Survey, while the number of women
obtaining PhDs in STEM has been increasing for decades, their numbers have yet
to reach parity in the upper echelons of the most prestigious jobs, and overall
they are still underrepresented in almost all academic fields. The NSF ADVANCE
program, which began in 2001 and invested over $135 million in projects,
endeavored to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic
STEM careers by addressing specific aspects of academic/institutional culture
that affected women differently. Such aspects include, but are not limited to,
stereotype threat, explicit and implicit bias, sexual harassment, lack of family
leave support/policies that treat women equally, and lack of women in leadership
and decision-making positions. From the NSF ADVANCE summary, "The cumulative
effect of such diverse factors has been to create infrastructural barriers that
impact the number of women entering, persisting and advancing in STEM careers."
The goal of ADVANCE, which ceased awarding grants in 2012, was to "seminally
contribute to and inform the general knowledge base on gender equity in the
academic STEM disciplines." This Special Session will highlight the most
influential (measurable) outcomes of NSF ADVANCE towards meeting its goals,
focusing on broadly-applicable best practices and knowledge gained, not (just)
specific products/statistics. E.g., if an institution increased participation of
undergraduate women in STEM from 20% to 30%, how did they do it, what were the
challenges, how do they plan to continue, how is their strategy transferable to
other institutions? In this session we will hear from speakers with a diverse
background in promoting the equity of women in STEM to learn from their
experiences, with the aim of bringing together more universal policies and
recommendations to help equalize women (and all minority) participation and
advancement in Astronomy. This session will also be open for posters that
discuss evidence-based, proactive research and programming related to women and
minority equity in Astronomy. NSF ADVANCE was a momentous effort from the
national government and many individuals, and with this session we want to pause
and assess where we are after ADVANCE, and the best directions to move in the
near future.

Chair: Neil Gehrels (NASA’s GSFC)

Talks are listed in the order in which they were given. 209.02 Successful ADVANCE Initiatives for Junior Women Faculty in STEM Eve Riskin University of Washington Link to slides (PDF) 209.03 Individuals and Institutions: How to Advance Women in Science Virginia Valian Hunter College & CUNY Graduate Center No slides; link to notes by Nancy Morrison 209.04 Advancing Women in STEM at Florida International University Caroline E. Simpson Florida International Univ. Link to slides (PDF, 653 KB) 209.01 Has ADVANCE Affected Senior Compared to Junior Women Scientists Differently? Sue Rosser San Francisco State University Link to slides (PDF, 1.85 MB)


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