Q: Why does MIT need GWAMIT?
A: Graduate women are a growing minority at MIT: the number has increased 55% in the last 15 years to 31% currently. This growth, combined with the decentralized nature of MIT services, has made it difficult for graduate women to access personal and professional resources. Before GWAMIT was founded, graduate women reported the desire for more resources, yet existing resources were underutilized. GWAMIT aims to keep graduate women connected to MIT's resources while serving unmet needs.
GWAMIT's structure and size allows us to contribute to the development of graduate women at a large scale, through the Mentoring Program, Leadership Conference, and Empowerment Conference. Being able to draw members from across the institute allows GWAMIT to have the momentum and continuity that were lacking in departmental women's groups, which tended to come and go.
Q: Who attends GWAMIT events?
A: Event attendees have included male and female graduate students (also from outside MIT), faculty, alumni, staff, and undergraduates.
Q: How can men benefit from GWAMIT programming?
A: GWAMIT encourages men to join conversations about issues that are community issues rather than "women's issues," for instance dual-career families and implicit bias. Many graduate and other men have been attending and learning from our seminars and workshops. Some male attendees of GWAMIT events commented that they have never previously been in a room "surrounded by women:" while "disconcerting" and even "intimidating," it provides a new perspective. We encourage more men to attend our events and trade perspectives.
Q: As a faculty member or alum, how can I get more involved with GWAMIT?
A: You are welcome to propose event ideas and/or let us know your desire to speak or serve on a panel. If you are local to the Boston area, you may also want to consider joining the GWAMIT Mentoring Program.