What is the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative?
The Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative (WCEC) was created in 2021 as a partnership network of professional engineering societies and STEM-based companies. The WCEC is working to address systemic barriers that prohibit equitable work environments for women engineers of color.
Since its inception, the WCEC has grown to 29 organizations, created a shared vision and mission, and developed a strategic plan that will guide our efforts over the next few years. In our inaugural newsletter, we want to thank you for your interest and support of our work. We hope that you will engage with the WCEC as we begin implementing the strategies aimed at tackling the following five major challenges facing women of color (WOC) in the engineering workplace:
Improve pathways to internships, scholarships, and jobs in engineering
Reduce microaggressions, racism, and sexism in the workplace
Retain and amplify women of color in the workplace
Increase network inclusivity and sponsorships for women of color
Raise openness and reduce backlash to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices
In our upcoming newsletters, we will explore each of these challenges and highlight the goals and strategies under each.
Want to Get Involved?
Are you interested in having your organization become a member of the WCEC? Read our membership guidelines and fill out an application. Learn more.
While we don’t offer membership to individuals, we do want to grow the WCEC community! Soon we will begin collecting profiles of amazing WOC engineers for our Inspiring Leaders database. We are also collecting resources from our member organizations to place in our online Resource Center. We will be using this newsletter to get the word out as these activities get underway. Please share the WCEC with your network and invite others to sign up for our newsletter through the Contact Us form on the WCEC website.
Barrier #3: Retain and Amplify Women of Color in the Workplace
Numerous studies have highlighted the biases and stereotypes that WOC face in the engineering workplace. Creating a more inclusive and supportive environment is necessary if organizations are serious about achieving their diversity goals. The goals and strategies under Barrier #3 support efforts to amplify the contributions of WOC to the field and promote data-driven improvements to develop a more equitable and inclusive workplace.
Strategies to address this barrier include:
Create an online database of successful WOC to help organizations find speakers, panelists, and committee and board members. Increasing the visibility of WOC in private- and public-facing roles will result in more opportunities for promotion and advancement, and provide role models for future engineers.
Increase the role of professional societies in supporting, maintaining, sustaining and enhancing workplace retention efforts. Professional societies play an important role in creating inclusivity in engineering through their awards, scholarships, conferences, and leadership.
Develop data-based resources to help organizations improve the retention of WOC. Highlighting promising practices, sharing member organization resources across the collaborative, and creating metrics that include indicators by gender and race to help organizations determine benchmarks are some ways in which the WCEC can promote more effective retention efforts.
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME serves a wide-ranging engineering community through quality learning, the development of codes and standards, certifications, research, conferences and publications, government relations, and other forms of outreach.
Why is the WCEC important? “The percentage of women of color in engineering is greatly lacking. The entire engineering community should focus on recruiting and retaining women of color, in turn the engineering field will benefit from their insights and innovations. It is ASME’s conscious intention to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our programs, events, member outreach, learning and development opportunities, scholarships, publications, and communications, and to make ASME a more welcoming place for women of color.”
– Quote from Tom Costabile, P.E., ASME Executive Director/CEO
What is one activity that your organization is doing that aligns with the mission of the WCEC?
ASME recently announced a reciprocal membership discount with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). An ASME member is eligible to receive a SHPE membership for half-price and vice versa. More information can be found at: https://www.asme.org/about-asme/media-inquiries/press-releases/asme-and-shpe-offer-reciprocal-membership-discounts Both organizations share a goal of advancing, disseminating, and applying engineering knowledge to improve the quality of life. These discounts allow ASME and SHPE members, especially early career members, the opportunity to participate in both organizations at a lower cost.
How can engineering organizations better support WOC?
Engineering organizations should be more intentional about equity and inclusion by providing more opportunities like awards and key volunteer roles to women of color.
Register for the WCEC Webinar on February 23rd!
Recent studies of women in engineering have highlighted real-world experiences of implicit bias and discrimination, including issues of retention and promotion in the workplace. These challenges are often multiplied for WOC in Engineering, who are typically held to stricter standards of competence than their counterparts. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges that negatively impact diversity and inclusion efforts. Join us as we explore the role that professional societies serve in supporting, maintaining, sustaining, and enhancing workplace retention efforts during our webinar on Thursday, February 23rd at 4 pm EST. More details about the webinar are forthcoming. Register here.
Upcoming WCEC Member Events
The WCEC shares the numerous professional activities offered by our member organizations. Member organizations are committed to creating a supportive, encouraging, and inclusive environment for WOC in engineering. Find out more about their events and register to attend!
WE Local Conferences Detroit, MI, February 17-18, 2023 Hartford, CT, March 3-4, 2023 Seattle, WA, March 31-April 1, 2023
WE Local conferences take place around the world and are organized by the Society of Women Engineers to bring together participants in all stages of their collegiate and professional journey. The conferences create space for engineers and partners to connect through professional development sessions, inspirational speakers, networking opportunities, and more. Learn more & register.
ASCE DiscoverE Engineers Week February 19-25, 2023
ASCE partners with DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation) to shine a spotlight on engineering. Engineers Week is a time to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers, and bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents. Learn more and access materials.
ASEE CoNECD Conference New Orleans, LA, February 25-28, 2023
The vision of the CoNECD (pronounced, “connected”) Conference is to provide a forum for exploring current research and practices to enhance diversity and inclusion of all underrepresented populations in the engineering and computing professions including gender identity and expression, race and ethnicity, disability, veterans, LGBTQ+, 1st generation and socio-economic status. Learn more & register.
AAAS Annual Meeting Washington, D.C., March 2-5, 2023
See Plenary and Topical Lectures, Scientific Sessions, Workshops, and more, highlighting the importance of our multiplicity. The 2023 AAAS Annual Meeting will feature multi-disciplinary research that advances knowledge and responds to the needs of humanity. Learn more & register
TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition San Diego, CA, March 19-23, 2023
The TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition brings together more than 4,000 engineers, scientists, business leaders, and other professionals in the minerals, metals, and materials fields for a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary exchange of technical knowledge. Learn more & register.
SAMPE Conference Seattle, WA April 17-20, 2023
SAMPE 2023 Conference and Exhibition is exclusively dedicated to advanced materials and processes. Produced by the North America Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), this event brings together leading companies, engineers, scientists, and professionals from throughout the advanced materials and processes industry. Learn more & register
AWWA ACE23 National Conference Toronto, ONT, June 11-14, 2023
ACE, where the water community comes together to learn, connect, and be inspired to solve global water challenges. Be a part of the water revolution that addresses critical issues about the world’s most important resource. Regardless of where you are in your career, there is something for everyone at ACE. Learn more & register.
ASEE National Conference Baltimore, MD, June 25-28, 2023
The premier event of its kind, the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition fosters an exchange of ideas; enhances teaching methods and curricula; explores how to manage engagement, retention, and return on learning experiences; and provides unparalleled networking opportunities for engineering and engineering technology education stakeholders, including deans, department chairs, faculty members, researchers, and industry and government professionals. Learn more & register
Call for Participation
Consider presenting at an upcoming event! Member organizations offer the following opportunities for participation.
2023 AISES Leadership Summit River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma April 30 - May 2, 2023 Proposal Deadline: February 22, 2023
The AISES Leadership Summit provides personal and career development through leadership training specifically designed for Indigenous students and professionals. AISES is currently seeking engaging and innovative session proposals focused on leadership development designed to support Indigenous college students and professionals on their educational and career journeys. Learn more
2023 WE23 Conference Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA October 26-28, 2023 Proposal Deadline: March 14, 2023
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will host a hybrid WE23 on October 26-28. More than 200 sessions will be selected for the world’s largest conference for engineers and technologists.. The in-person conference will take place in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more
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Funded by the National Science Foundation Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science Program, Award HRD-2040634, the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative (WCEC) is a partnership network of professional engineering associations, STEM-based companies, and higher education institutions dedicated to addressing systemic barriers that prohibit equitable work environments for women engineers of color. Through the WCEC, partner organizations will better leverage their resources to promote systemic change while working collectively to decrease the barriers that lead to the attrition of women engineers of color.