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Association for Women in Science
History and Background

The 70s and 80s - a time for organization-building and advocacy
AWIS was founded in 1971 at the annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, after a series of champagne brunches organized by the informal women''s caucus.
Established an office in Washington, DC, with an executive director
Built chapters across the country and recruited individual members
Created the AWIS Educational Foundation to receive donations and award fellowships
AWIS focused on advocacy for women in science across all scientific and technical disciplines and at all educational levels.
Published the AWIS Newsletter (later AWIS Magazine) with stories on policy issues and career development
Created and maintained a Directory of Women in Science, to document the depth and breadth of their expertise and serve as a source of candidates for jobs, appointments, and awards
Participated in lawsuits to enhance the professional environment for women in science, including successful suits to have NIH include more women on peer review panels and to have the government enforce hard-won protections such as Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity
Persuaded a leading publisher to withdraw a new edition of a medical text that featured "Playboy"-style photos
Through the Legisative Task Force, based in Washington, DC, established working relationships with key legislative and executive branch staff, to ensure attention to women in science concerns
The 1990s - a time for mentoring activities, international networking, and domestic policy involvement
With grant support and members'' dedicated time and effort, AWIS undertook mentoring activities to reach the largest possible number of young women.

Encouraged chapters'' outreach to students in their communities, through small grants and resource materials
Published A Hand Up, Women Mentoring Women in Science, to serve as a paper mentor for those not reached directly by AWIS members; this best seller was later translated into Spanish (a 2005 edition is now available)
Won a Presidential Mentoring Award for Creating Tomorrow''s Scientists: Models of Community Mentoring
AWIS responded to many inquiries internationally, and extended its efforts to help women abroad.

Received accreditation as a UN Non-Governmental Organization and attended the 4th World Conference of Women, where AWIS created and co-chaired the first science and technology caucus for a UN Women''s Conference

Became a founding member of The Global Alliance, in collaboration with AAAS and WEPAN AWIS continued its networking activities to enhance the education and work environments for women in science
AWIS established itself as a major player in political processes that affect women in STEM.

Played an instrumental role in developing the legislation that established the Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology (CAWMSET) and successfully nominated AWIS President as member
Received an ADVANCE Leadership Award from NSF for an Academic Climate study
Joined the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, a group that advocates for science on Capitol Hill and with the National Academy of Sciences
2000 and beyond - a time for renewed commitment to networking and advocacy
Joined key groups working toward full inclusion and recognition of women across the spectrum of sciences and technology

For the Women''s Appointment Project, chaired the Science and Environment Task Force
Joined other groups to petition Congress to strengthen the application of Title IX to STEM departments in academe
AWIS President appointed to the National Leadership Council of Building Engineering and Science Talent (the organization established to ensure implementation of CAWMSET recommendations)
AWIS President invited by People to People Ambassador Program to lead delegation to China Continued advocacy to enhance the environment for women in science
Executive Director and Board Members participated in media interviews and wrote letters in response to remarks by Harvard President Larry Summers
Published Washington Wire (bimonthly e-newsletter) with timely alerts on science policy and women in science analyses
Received grant to undertake study of issues facing those in full-time non-tenure-track academic positions

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