Women for Science

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  • Toward inclusion: good management practice

    ‘Voices that are silenced or ignored, for whatever reason, represent not only an injustice but also a valuable resource hat has been wasted, a tragic waste of human capital.’
    James Padilla,
    President, Ford Motor Company (2005)

    Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the problem of women’s underrepresentation in science and technology and explains why its solution truly matters. It notes the growing concern of governments and other entities around the world, justifies in some detail the critical role of the science and engineering academies, and specifies the Advisory Panel’s mandate for this report.

     Chapter 2 reviews some of the past and present activities of organizations that have been effective in advocating for and supporting the education and career prospects of women scientists and engineers. It describes the educational and inspirational efforts of women’s groups, some of the national assessments and initiatives undertaken by governments in pursuit of gender equality, and trends both in improving access to higher education in science and technology and in enhancing prospects for employment that is not only productive but offers opportunities for advancement.

    Chapter 2 also describes the application of ‘good management practice', which the Advisory Panel strongly recommends to the academies for their own operations and for dissemination to the larger S&T community. This management principle—an effective, well-demonstrated means of making an organizational culture inclusive of minorities, be they ethnic minorities or women in institutions dominated by men—is shared by many of the successful inclusion efforts reviewed by the Advisory Panel. Good management practice aims for establishing a culture in an organization that values all of its members and expects them —and gives them the opportunities—to function at their full potential for the benefit of that organization.

    Elements of good management practice include:

    • Commitment from top levels of the organization;
    • Established infrastructure, such as a diversity committee;
    • Review of all policies and procedures for possible differential impact on men and women;
    • Transparency in all communication, recruitment, promotion, and awards;
    • Wide inner circle, where decisions are made, that is inclusive;
    • Leadership training and mentoring;
    • Supporting a healthy work-family balance;
    • Regular collecting of sex-disaggregated data and monitoring of progress.

    As specified in the successive core chapters (3, 4, and 5) of this report, good management practice forms the backbone of the Advisory Panel’s recommendations for academies in the following three areas:

    • Attract women and girls to science and technology, support their education throughout the ‘pipeline’, and retain and advance them in their careers.
    • Fully include women in global capacity-building efforts.
    • Fully include women in the academies’ own organizations.


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