“SWE President’s Intentional Inclusion Update for July 2020” was written by FY21 SWE President, Heather Doty.
Welcome to my monthly All Together blog post on the Society’s Intentional Inclusion efforts. We started by making a commitment to add at least one woman of color to the FY21 Board of Directors. A call for nominations was opened and despite the short window, more than fifty nominations were received. In early July, the Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of two special directors: Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua and Dr. Maisha Gray-Diggs. We are excited to have them join the board and we welcome their much-needed insight and expertise.
Moreover, we recognized the need to hear from our members of color, who we are defining as Black, Native American, Asian, and LatinX, about their experiences in SWE and how as an organization we can better meet their needs. On July 22, we held two Listening Town Halls. More than 180 members joined us that day to share and provide feedback. We heard members tell us in no uncertain terms that this is for the Society’s leadership to fix and not a problem for the women of color to fix. We agree 100%, but we want you at the table sharing your voice and keeping us accountable. Feedback from the Town Halls generally fell into five categories that included leadership actions like mentoring and sponsorship, the nomination process and the need for more transparency, increasing our K-12 outreach in communities of color, the lack of diversity of speakers at SWE’s face-to-face events and finally making sure we have diverse judges for SWE’s awards and scholarships.
One outcome is clear: at all levels of the Society, training is needed for our leaders on intentional inclusion. We took a first step by hosting a Facebook live discussion on July 9 entitled “Let’s Talk Allyship for Black Engineers and Technologists”. This is just a first step. The Society is currently meeting with several subject matter experts to help us develop training and a dissemination plan for leadership at all levels within the organization. We want to make sure that every member feels welcome and included, whether at a local Section event, on a committee or at Society-level events. Nothing less is acceptable. The work is just beginning.
Facebook live discussion: “Let’s Talk Allyship for Black Engineers and Technologists”
- Demand Equal Pay for Black Women
- Leading Women in STEM Push for Greater Diversity in Aerospace
- Engineering Student Persuades Book Publisher to Remove ‘Master and Slave’ Language
- SWE Appoints 2 Special Directors for FY21
- Empathy: The First Step Towards Inclusion