Society of Women Engineers: Taking a Stand For Diversity and Inclusion

take a stand

We must stand together to demand justice and work together to turn our pain into purpose.

The Society of Women Engineers is angered and saddened by the recent events in Minneapolis that led to the death of George Floyd.  As an organization we vehemently denounce racism!  Systemic racism faced by those of color in our communities across the United Sates has become all too familiar.  We must stand together to demand justice and work together to turn our pain into purpose.  Nothing will change if those outside the impacted communities stand by and do nothing.  We must be true allies, standing shoulder to shoulder, asking the tough questions of our civic leaders.

To support increased participation of women and minorities in engineering, SWE became a founding member of the 50K Coalition.  Since 2015, together with the American Indian Society of Engineers and Scientists (AISES), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), we have been working together, using the collective impact model, to increase the numbers of engineering graduates from underrepresented populations to 50,000 by 2025.  Moreover, we have Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the above-mentioned groups supporting initiatives like joint membership, research and public policy.  This year we are working on additional agreements with NOGLSTPoSTEM and SASE.

We also recognize that as an organization we have our own work to do. The lack of visible diversity in our leadership is palpable.  For the past several years, SWE leadership has focused on creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment within the Society.  While our efforts may not always achieve the goals we have set forth, we cannot hope to accomplish those goals if we do not actively focus on them.  And we acknowledge that as an organization we still have a lot of work to do. 

As an organization we are committed to our diversity and inclusion principles:

  • Developing women in engineering across socio economic strata and occupational focus
  • Encouraging interest in and active participation of women and girls of underrepresented groups including (but not limited to) African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans
  • Supporting women and respecting their differences in family status, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age and physical ability
  • Work collaboratively with men to confront gender bias and create a more inclusive engineering community

This year our SWE Senate has convened a sub-team to address the lack of diversity within our leadership pipeline.  And that work will continue in the next fiscal year.  We want to be solutions driven.  Our KPI metric dashboard tracks the diversity demographics of both our membership and our leadership. Details will be shared on and in the State of SWE conducted every spring. We are holding ourselves accountable and we expect our members and partners to hold us accountable as well.

SWE is a place for women of all backgrounds to come together and share unique perspectives and advance both themselves and the field of engineering. To members who are not happy with our lack of diverse leadership, we challenge you to be the change you want to see in the world.

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