This event required each of us delegates to develop an action project directed at some part of women's inequality. During the conversations last fall, inspiration hit me.
Let's start with some background:
Twelve years ago, Nancy H. Hopkins, a molecular biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began measuring lab space to prove that women faculty received less support than men, an effort that eventually led to sustained efforts at MIT to combat gender discrimination. As the New York Times reported on March 21, MIT shows substantial progress in its fight for equality. You might believe that other institutions picked up on this issue and began their own quest to eliminate gender bias.
You might be wrong.
What was different about the MIT case and other institutions? The women at MIT called them on it with data. Their data became public knowledge as well, not merely a paper in a scholarly journal.
My vision began to form of a place to document sexism, intentional or unintentional, in the world of academia. A place where inequality could be examined, documented, discussed, and, perhaps, cured. All of this would take place with public scrutiny, and we would come up with ways to assess "female-friendliness" on various campuses. This score or grade could be useful for future women students and could also be used to demonstrate progress by various academic institutions.
Academic Women for Equality Now was conceived. I also liked the name because it sounds like "Uh, now." That's the answer to the question, "Well, when do you want equality?"
Today, the site is born!
Initially, the site will focus on academic medical centers and colleges of medicine. I am familiar with this area of academia, and the Association of American Medical Colleges collects data that makes it an accessible starting point.
I want AWEnow to be more than a web site. Ultimately, I hope we can get discussions going to allow women to connect and find solutions to problems they face. If you are interested in collaborating (anything from writing a guest post to partnering with me to address another area of academia) drop me a line via the contact tab on the site.
So click our logo and check out the site. Hook up with us on social media. Chat, converse, and debate sexism in the ivory tower.