Women in Andrology Mission Statement
The field of Andrology can best advance by optimizing contributions from all its members. The Women in Andrology (WIA) of the American Society of Andrology recognizes that women are often underrepresented in science and medicine at all levels, especially leadership positions. The WIA was formed to promote women’s contributions to and representation in the activities of the American Society of Andrology, specifically, and the field of Andrology in general.
To do this, the WIA will:
- Support women members of the ASA in achieving their career goals through networking and mentoring;
- Consistently work toward recognition of women’s accomplishments in the field of Andrology;
- Work within the framework of the ASA and within the Executive Council of the ASA.
WIA Annual Luncheon
All female attendees of the ASA Annual Meeting are welcome and encouraged to attend the WIA Luncheon. Activities at the luncheon usually include:
- Introductions of special guests (e.g. the Women in Andrology Lecturer who should be offered a free ticket to the WIA luncheon).
- Announcements of and congratulations for awards/honors, promotions, new jobs, major grants.
- An informal program may be organized if time permits. This is usually on a career development topic, rather than a scientific program.
- Election of the Vice-Chair for the following year. This woman will be WIA Chair in two years.
A Brief History of Women in Andrology
The Ladies Room Caucus
During the 1991 ASA Interim (fall) Council meeting, Gail Prins and Susan Rothmann raised objections to the predominately male candidate slate proposed by the Nominating Committee. ASA President David Hamilton challenged the women Council members develop a plan to increase participation of women in the ASA. He called a recess and asked the four women present to caucus and then report back with a plan. Gail, Susan, Jean Fourcroy and Sally Nyquist met in the only available private space, the women's restroom.
Gail Prins suggested that the Women in Endocrinology group of the Endocrine Society serve as a model for the female members of the ASA. A questionnaire would be sent to all women in the ASA asking what committees they would like to serve on and soliciting resumes. These documents would be given to the Nominating Committee and to all Committee Chairs to assist them in adding women to ASA governance. In addition, it was suggested that one Council position have only women candidates to ensure adequate representation of women. The women reported this recommendation to the Council and were encouraged to proceed. Council agreed to reserve one Council ballot position for women, which is still the practice in 2004-5. The Nominating Committee was thereby instructed to develop a new, more inclusive ballot.
The importance of Dr. Hamilton's encouragement of this effort cannot be understated. David made sure that the process was supported during the critical first years when he was President and Past-President. His belief in the importance of a diverse ASA was an important factor in establishing the Women in Andrology.
The First Organized Meeting
Shortly thereafter, still in the fall of 1991, a group of women met at the American Fertility Society (now called the American Society of Reproductive Medicine) meeting, including Susan Rothmann, Gail Prins, Jean Fourcroy, Martha Anderson, and Grace Centola. They discussed the ASA Council Meeting, as well as strategies for started the Women’s Group and getting women elected. Gail sent a letter and questionnaire to all female ASA members on November 15, 1991, announcing an organizational meeting to take place at the 1992 ASA meeting. The names Woman’s Caucus and Women in Andrology were both suggested.
The first WIA breakfast took place at the 1992 ASA Annual Meeting in Bethesda, MD and was attended by 36 women. The name “Women in Andrology” was chosen. Grace Centola volunteered to serve as Acting Chairperson and sent a letter to all female ASA members, and formed an ad hoc steering committee: Martha Anderson, Grace Centola, Nina Davis, Erma Drobnis, Lyndall Erb, Jean Fourcroy, Gail Goldsmith, Trish Olds-Clarke, Gail Prins, Carol Sloan, Monica Vasquez-Levin, and Donna Vogel.
Evolution of the WIA
The WIA luncheon became a regular feature of the ASA meeting starting in 1993. Early meetings included a speaker on a scientific or career development topic. In 2000, the ASA instituted a WIA Lecture as part of its official program. This freed up time at the luncheon for networking and other career development activities. The WIA Co-Chair is automatically on the Program Committee for the following year (corresponding to the meeting year during which she will be WIA chair). She can then ensure adequate female representation on the scientific program and is usually consulted regarding the selection of the WIA Lecturer. Note that the WIA do not “approve” the speaker (none of the lecture sponsors do) as that is the full responsibility of the Program Committee. The WIA Co-Chair’s presence on the committee, however, does give her right to suggest potential speakers and in the final selection.
This summary was originally prepared by Sally Perreault with input from many important pioneers of the WIA. Revised February 26, 2005
Duties of the WIA Chairperson and vice-chairperson
Responsibilities of Chairperson
- Schedule the WIA luncheon in consultation with the Program Committee.
- Preside at the WIA luncheon.
- Introduce the WIA lecture speaker (i.e. Chairs the WIA Lecture session of the meeting).
- Provide information to the ASA business office for the program, the luncheon, and the website. For example, when the registration materials are put on the web, a brief note inviting all women registering for the ASA meeting to the luncheon, and summarizing the program, would be in order.
Responsibilities of Vice-Chairperson
- During her mandate as Vice-Chair, she serves on the Program Committee and assists in selection of the WIA Lecture speaker.
- Solicit recommendations for speakers from WIA members by email after the meeting.
- Survey members about ASA committees and roles where they would like to serve; distribute the results and CV’s to ASA leadership to facilitate inclusion of women members by Committee Chairs and Nominating Committee.