"The mission of 500 Women Scientists is to serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible." (500 Women Scientists)
No More "Manals"
500 Women Scientists is an organization started in late 2016 that advocates for women in science, technology, and research roles. STEM is globally dominated by men, but there are still plenty of women doing important research in these fields. The organization’s goal is to diversify the voices telling the story of science.
One of its key features is the "Request a Woman Scientist" tool, which allows journalists, conference organizers, and others to find experts through a multidisciplinary network. This searchable map of the entire world is freely available to use. With the tool, anyone can easily find contact information for experts from a wide range of academic subjects for interviews or lectures.
The organization contends that there are no more excuses for all-male panels, colloquially called "manels." Those who are interested in joining the network of expertise can sign up via the 500 Women Scientists website. They already have an impressive list of op-eds and media appearances from women in the network.
Keeping it Local
The founders of 500 Women Scientists, Kelly Ramirez and Jane Zelikova, met while in graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They both recognized the importance of having a rich network of colleagues and mentors during their doctoral studies and beyond. Ramirez and Zelikova hope that their organization can provide networks and mentors for young women in order to foster the next generation of female STEM professionals.
500 Women Scientists has chapters, which they call pods, located across the world to better meet local needs. These pods build local networks, host meetings, and conduct outreach. The founders believe that change comes from small groups, not large crowds. Women interested in joining or starting a chapter can sign up through the organization’s website.Image: Marie Curie at the Solvay Conference in 1911, via Wikipedia