At its most recent meeting, the SWE board of directors adopted a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement, further expanding its view of diversity and committing to make SWE a welcoming environment for anyone who aligns with SWE’s mission.
SWE’s Diversity Principles were first adopted in 1998, updated in 2013, and again in mid-June. 2021. One goal of this latest revision was to more clearly welcome non-binary and gender expansive individuals. At the same time, the board acknowledges the organization’s purpose as outlined in our Articles of Incorporation, which state:
“…to inform the public of the qualifications, abilities and achievements of women engineers to bring about the better utilization of engineering talent for the economic and social benefit of humanity and to encourage young women with suitable aptitudes and interest to enter the engineering profession and to guide them in their educational programs.”
Today we have members advocating to broaden SWE’s purpose to include underrepresented gender expression and identification, while other members are hesitant to broaden that scope, given the dearth of progress for women in the field to date. On both the board level and throughout the Society, conversations addressing these perspectives will continue.
This latest version of the DEI Statement, below, will certainly not be the last, but rather reflects a moment in an ongoing process. We refer to our work in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a journey rather than a destination.
“The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) values diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential to our mission. SWE believes in a world where equal opportunities and equitable outcomes exist for all.
As the leading voice of women in engineering and technology around the world, it is critical for SWE to be explicit in our support for and work toward these ideals. We acknowledge that obstacles, such as bias and discrimination related to gender and race, have resulted in limited and unequal career opportunities in engineering and technology.
SWE recognizes and values the intersections of our members’ unique characteristics including, but not limited to: ethnicity, race, culture; sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression; age; differences in ability; immigration status, nationality, national origin; education; socio-economic status; family structure; military/veteran status; religious/non-religious beliefs.
SWE respects that gender is a continuum. Everyone is welcome to join SWE as a member. Our programs are focused on those who want to be in a woman-oriented space, and we welcome individuals who identify as non-binary or gender expansive who are comfortable in such an environment.
SWE will uphold its core values, including our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. These values will be reflected in the engagement of SWE members individually with their communities. SWE and its members are committed to developing and supporting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, to ensure every member feels a sense of belonging.”