When women lead, cultures change.
We believe that when 30-40% of the leaders in academic medicine and science are women, the barriers that hinder so many of us from advancing in academia and science will improve.
As a group of women with years of experience as senior leaders in academic medicine and science, we’ve learned the greatest barriers to change are our institutional and professional cultures. They’re handed down from one generation to the next—and those who didn’t have a say in how those cultures were formed are often left aside.
Overwhelmingly, until now, the leaders of our institutions have been men. And until more women join their ranks, true change will remain out of reach.
The level we’re shooting for is not arbitrary. Social science studies indicate that organizations change when enough voices from new groups join a conversation. Studies show that in many cases, this tipping point is around 30-40%.
In our profession, that’s the point when the systemic challenges women face every day will begin to improve. That’s the point when salary equity and reasonable family leave is inculcated into the culture. That’s the point when entrenched microaggressions and inherent biases that overtly and subtly damage women’s careers will begin to become part of the past. That is the point when sponsorships, networks, and mentors are readily available for all.
To accelerate the process, CWAMS is engaged in three approaches:
- Develop a national network, called The Faculty Advisory Network, to help women advance.
- Create a new group for women in senior leadership positions, known as the Organization of Women Leaders (OWL).
- Support the work of academic medicine institutions to spur metrics-driven change from within.