This group identified four action items that it thought could be implemented through the professional societies:
Facilitate and highlight the value of mentorship through mentorship awards sponsored by the national societies. Look for ways to institutionalize the accountability and value of mentorship.
Provide a mechanism for ongoing interaction between mid-level and senior-level women through society meetings and by societies working together to share information.
Encourage editorial boards of societies to ensure that their boards reflect the demographics of their memberships. Governing bodies and elected officers should likewise reflect the societies’ makeup.
Promote collaboration and interaction among societies. They should share information, avoid duplication, highlight well-functioning models, and continue the conversation begun at this workshop.
Our group started with rather small problems and then moved into the larger issues. It made the following suggestions:
Analyze the infrastructure issues that affect women and men in the workplace: flexible work schedules, social support for child rearing and child care, administrative support, space issues. Recognize that local institutions (such as universities, hospitals, and research centers), societies (such as AAMC), and national institutions (such as the National Institutes of Health) can all put forth the arguments required to instill the flexibility needed in the system.
Promote mentoring at all career levels, from predoctoral on up, that can be supported by individual institutions, societies, and national organizations.
Seek role models of successful women who have managed to balance families and successful careers and make them highly visible. By constantly seeking new role models, one can avoid overburdening a few people.