For more than 10 years, SWE’s European community has been actively advancing women in STEM through affiliates in the region, the work of global ambassadors, annual roundtable discussions, and the WE Local conference. As we kick off a new year, SWE is pleased to launch a new approach to further support and grow this regional community with the establishment of a new volunteer structure and an experienced staff team in Brussels.
To ensure SWE’s investments are well directed, a regional assessment project was undertaken during the summer of 2021. The assessment comprised interviews and focus groups with SWE volunteer leaders, members, partners, and headquarters staff; plus independent research and evaluation by consultants. SWE’s partners for the project and the newly established Brussels office are Exempla – a company specialized in supporting US-based global associations develop their European communities and value proposition.
The assessment noted that the SWE Europe community includes high-caliber professionals and high-profile companies which provides an excellent basis to develop and grow from, especially considering that in June 2021 Eurostat estimated there are 8 million female scientists and engineers across the region.
It also demonstrated that whilst there are numerous organizations serving specific national or technical communities, the global scale and cross-sectoral reach of the SWE network provides unique opportunities for both women engineers and the companies who employ them. SWE’s excellent professional, leadership and career development content was highlighted as a key strength, along with its potential to provide a platform for mentorship and research.
“Europe is the world’s leading region for gender equality and a key hub for business innovation. The SWE leadership is convinced the region can play an even more vital role in supporting our global objectives and are confident this approach will provide new energy, fresh ideas and additional value for our community”.
Karen Horting, SWE Executive Director and CEO
In the coming months, the new volunteer and staff groups will collaborate to develop an activity plan, tailored to the interests of members in Europe. Research will also be undertaken to help expand the professional, corporate, and university community. The approach will be carefully phased to allow for a steady rollout of activities whilst maintaining flexibility and evaluating what our European members and partners find most valuable.
If you have any questions about SWE’s work in Europe, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.