Women—especially women of color—often play an outsized role in mentorship, service, and outreach in science, while not necessarily being professionally acknowledged and provided the resources needed to maximize the impacts of their leadership. As part of our commitment to making science more open, inclusive, and accessible, our Fellowship for the Future recognizes the important role that women of color have in science and elevates these women’s voices and leadership.
As we have written before, to address the institutional barriers and biases that push women out of science, we cannot solely focus on issues of gender in science without recognizing intersectionality. We need to explicitly address additional forms of privilege and inequity that exist in STEM, including racial inequity. Currently, white men and women each comprise approximately 30% of the U.S. population, but white men hold ~49% of science and engineering occupations compared to ~18% of white women. The statistics are lower for Black, Hispanic, and Native women, who make up ~16% of the U.S. population, but make up ~5% of the science and engineering workforce (see Figure below). Overall, approximately 1 in 10 working in science or engineering is a woman of color.
Our fellowship aims to change this statistical story by building a new network of leaders and projects that help break down barriers in STEM and connect women of color together in leadership.