IAP for Research
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Women for Science
Authoring Institution
Release Date
June 1, 2006

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  • Advising and influencing government

    Individual academies usually have considerable leverage within their own countries, with many of them providing independent advice to their governments on matters of scientific and technological importance. Thus, for example, academies may press for nondiscrimination legislation in countries where women and minorities lack such protection by the law.

    They may look into specific cases of gender-based job discrimination and the legal recourses; or they may support infrastructure (such as the creation of an office focused on diversity issues in science and engineering) to help those who are discriminated against. Academies may also work with government and industries to develop and interpret data on girls’ and women’s progress, or lack thereof, through the education/career pipeline.


    • The Advisory Panel asks academies as employers to sign a statement formally committing themselves to good management practice. This will help ensure fair and transparent recruitment, employment, and promotion procedures in general, and in particular it will help expand the participation of women in academies ’ activities and lead to their increased membership.
    • Each national academy is urged to establish an equality and diversity committee that advocates for the inclusion of women at the highest levels of science and engineering and that directly reports to the institution’s governing body. The in-house committee proposes actions on diversity issues, and it regularly monitors and reports on these actions’ results as benchmarks for further improvement.
    • Academy leaders are encouraged to raise awareness among members regarding women’s underrepresentation in the academy; strive to enlarge the nomination pool of women scientists and engineers; appoint women members to councils, boards, committees, and panels; and recruit women as speakers in the academy’s lectures and symposia. .
    • When undertaking reviews of research institutes, academies are asked to stipulate that the working conditions and experiences of women staff be among the evaluation criteria. .
    • Academies are urged to become acquainted with research that examines sociocultural influences on women’s participation in science and technology. .
    • In their interactions with governments, academies are asked to advocate for full inclusion of women in science and technology. They can urge the adoption of measures such as nondiscrimination legislation, a national office focused on women’s issues in science and engineering, reform of textbooks and teaching materials, and a system for monitoring girls’ and women’s progress through the education/career pipeline.




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