AAAS Board Statement on Women in Science and Engineering
Recent discussions concerning women's participation in science and engineering (S&E) lead AAAS to re-affirm publicly its long-standing commitment to increasing the participation of women in S&E education and careers. AAAS applauds the significant contributions of a large number of women to the advancement of science and to its service to society. Moreover, we wish to make clear that while historically, gender has predicted participation in S&E careers, there is no evidencenor has there ever beenthat it predicts aptitude in science.
In its policy statement of January 1974 (revised in October 1977) on Equal Opportunity in the Sciences and Engineering, the AAAS Board of Directors recognized "that complex social, economic, and political forces have combined in the past to discourage women, minority and handicapped [sic] persons from entering the sciences and engineering, and to deny those who do enter equal access to positions of respect and authority." In response, AAAS transformed its own governance to achieve diversity among officers, board, and senior staff. AAAS also undertook ambitious efforts to raise awareness of these issues at the highest policy levels.
The AAAS Statement on Discrimination in the Workplace, adopted by the AAAS Board in December 1994 and by the AAAS Council in February 1995, further expands on the previous policy statement to highlight the importance of the environment in which scientists and engineers work. It states that, "Institutions that employ and support the work of scientists and educate and train young scientists should affirm their commitment to a diverse community."
In recent decades there have been increases in the numbers of women and minorities receiving S&E degrees at all levels and increased attention to the need to bring persons with disabilities into S&E education and careers. More needs to be done. AAAS reaffirms its policies to promote the participation of these groups in the S&E workforce, especially in academia, which lags behind industry and government in achieving a diverse workforce.
Approved by the Board on February 5, 2005