Since 1993 a group of professional women has met monthly for dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington DC under the sponsorship of Dr. Florence Haseltine. This casual assembly enjoys the friendly interchange and companionship, and sporadically takes note of events that affect women. In early 2005 a dinner was held shortly after the National Medal of Science Awards were announced, and it was noted that no woman received this prestigious award. A sense of outrage and resolution prevailed. Something needed to be done.
After some discussion, Dr. Stephanie Pincus decided to see what could be done. She received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to organize this effort,which began with gathering critical information. She based her effort at the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) in Washington DC, where it resides organizationally today. Dr. Florence Haseltine, founder of the SWHR, was recruited to build the database and website. Today Dr. Pincus manages recruitment of data entry staff and promotes the findings through scholarly publications, public speaking, and collaborations with other organizations such as the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).
Experience has taught us that in order to make a change, you must first gather the data.
The RAISE Project data is gathered by systematically searching the websites for posted awards.
Data is collected by search of the award listings of scientific societies and relevant professional organizations. The data is “scraped” from the site, entered into a content management system, parsed into awardees, award, year of award, awarding body, and the sex of the recipient. It is not always possible to determine whether someone is male or female by name alone, so it is fortunate for data collection that photographs are usually posted on the website. This has made identification of the sex much easier. However, we do not categorize by ethnic identity.
Data collection began in 2006. Subsequently information about awardees starting in 1981 was added.
Data for the number of women and men in specific fields is obtained from publications of the National Science Foundation for STEM and the American Association of Medical Colleges for Medicine.