ship, visibility, and recognition of women; (2) mentoring and networking; (3) effective practices; and (4) oversight, tracking, and accountability.
Four of the initiatives under this theme follow the work of Robin Ely and Deborah Myerson who laid out the best strategies to increase numbers of women.5 The first, the “fix the woman” strategy, gives women skills they may not have. Leadership programs and mentoring programs fall under this approach. The second strategy is to value the feminine—in other words, value the different skills and emphases that women bring to research, and validate them by increased recognition and visibility. The third approach is to create equal opportunity. That would include issuing report cards, for example, on how many women are selected for committee memberships and ensuring equal access to these types of positions.
These three strategies are very important, but they are not sufficient. They increase the numbers of women, but they do not change the fundamental playing field. This is where the fourth strategy comes in—to assess and revise the work culture. In fact, this is part of the effort of AXXS: to create an umbrella organization to examine strategically ways to change the culture of scientific societies so that women’s contributions will be more valued. This effort has been spear-headed by Sue Shafer and a coordinating group that was part of the original AXXS planning team. This has been an excellent approach to keeping an effort going and producing some important initiatives that this workshop can now build on.
Our first major effort under the second theme, mentoring and networking, was to create the AXXS Web site, which now averages about 400 hits a day. It is being further developed as a resource for women in science who are searching for publications and Web links. We’d like for this Web site to serve as a clearinghouse for information on women, science, and strategies for success.
Another major initiative has been to establish an “effective practices” clearinghouse. The first effective practices that we gathered—organizational practices to advance the careers of women in science—are available on the AXXS Web site, and we hope to add more after this meeting. So we challenge all of you and your societies, such as the AACR, to send in practices, particularly those that are different from ones already up on the Web site. We hope that you will steal the ideas of everyone else and use them in your societies.