BOX 5-9

Women in Cell Biology

Women in Cell Biology (WICB) is widely credited with providing leadership in the inclusion of women in the society’s annual meeting and in its officer ranks (see Box 4-1). WICB began in the early 1970s as an ad hoc group of women cell biologists who met during the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) annual meeting and distributed a photocopied newsletter. In 1992, ASCB invited WICB to become a standing committee of ASCB. Some of the activities that WICB offers at the annual ASCB meeting are

  1. An annual Junior and Senior Award followed by an evening professional development program.

  2. A Career Lunch Table program where persons self-select to talk to those with experience in a wide array of topics (such as teaching at liberal arts colleges, the shift from academe to biotechnology, and dual-career partnerships).

  3. A professionally led workshop on such topics as conflict management.

In addition, WICB members write a column in the quarterly ASCB newsletter, and their Web site offers many links to various women in science resources, ranging from obtaining speakers in all fields of cell biology to balancing work and family life.a


aAmerican Society for Cell Biology Web page, http://www.ascb.org/.

example, Duke University (Box 5-10) has used a combination of surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Other universities have also used quality of life surveys for internal information to help them to pinpoint critical areas on which to focus change efforts.

In addition to examining the campus climate, it is important that the university leadership make it known that it is committed to the advancement of women and minority groups. This may include drawing attention to the status of women, demonstrating that the inferior status of women is a problem for the entire university, noting that the campus has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and discrimination, and making deans and department heads accountable for what happens to women in their constituencies.81


F Dobbin and A Kalev (2006). Diversity Management and Managerial Diversity, Addendum to “Best Practices or Best Guesses.” Special Report to the National Academies Committee on Women in Academic Science and Engineering. This report supplements their analyses in “Best Practices or Best Guesses” by separating out industries that have large research and development components and that, thus, may be most likely to hold lessons for academe.

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