2021 CoNECD

Creating a Bridge to Sisterhood

Presented at CoNECD Session : Day 1 Slot 7 Technical Session 1

Despite considerable efforts the representation and inclusion of white women and women of color in STEM both in the academy and in industry remains low and in positions of leadership even lower. On the surface, it would seem that, working together as allies, women of color and white women could enact significant change. Yet, creating these alliances is challenging and we suggest that as a result progress is limited. In June of 2019, a unique event was held at the National Academy of Sciences. This event brought together approximately forty white women and forty women of color to discuss the issues that both linked and divided them. The previous day, the participants had met separately as a group of white women and a group of women of color. Our efforts are informed by several theoretical frameworks: (1) internalized oppression (2) self-efficacy and resilience (3) transformative change; (3) thought mapping for action; and (4) building alliances for policy reform.
The conference included leaders from a variety of arenas, including academia, government and industry. The participants came from across the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Some of the participants were experts in the fields of research associated with women in STEMM fields, and some had little experience with social research. The discussions were chosen to invoke thought and to be challenging, with attention to creating deliberate safe spaces that were judgement free.
This paper will discuss the results of an assessment conducted in parallel with the events and as a follow up.

  1. Dr. Laura Bottomley North Carolina State University [biography]
  2. Ms. Crystal R. Emery URU The Right to Be, Inc. [biography]
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