Establishment of WIC - copy of Council Report
At the November '97 meeting, as a result of an effective presentation by the Gender Issues Task Force, Council approved the formation of the Women's Initiatives Committee. The Executive Summary of the task force report follows; for a copy of the full report e-mail Betty Feehan at bettf@aiche.org.

October 1997

The new strategic plan for the AIChE explicitly affirms in its Mission Statement the commitment to "uphold and advance the professional standards, ethics and diversity" within the organization. In November 1996, the Executive Committee of the AIChE Council formed a Gender Issues Task Force, charged with reporting back to Council by November 1997 on:

the past and present status of women in the organization and the profession,
an assessment of the future professional needs of this group of women, and
recommendations on long and short-term strategies to meet such needs, consistent with the objectives of the Mission Statement with respect to diversity.

The fourteen-member Task Force, chaired by Teresa Cheung, concluded that chemical engineering is ahead of the other engineering disciplines in being an attractive career choice for women. AIChE has an excellent opportunity to attract proportionally more women members in the future, if it provides an environment which supports their interests while expanding their career and leadership opportunities. Some of the main issues specific to women members involve the competing demands imposed by childbearing and traditional caregiving roles on career advancement, as well as some cultural differences in value systems and some subtle residual discrimination.

The Task Force conducted its work through two face-to-face meetings, and many teleconference calls and e-mail exchanges over the past nine months. Having concluded its work, the Task Force recommends the adoption and implementation of the following mission statement and strategic initiatives.

Women's Initiatives Mission
AIChE will lead in promoting the entry, development, and full participation of women in the Institute and the profession.

Establish a new entity within AIChE to accomplish the Women's Initiatives Mission.
Develop and/or distribute resources on subjects pertaining to women in the profession.
Mobilize AIChE to meet the needs of existing and potential female members of AIChE and the profession.
Provide networking means for women in AIChE to use each other as resources.
Increase the visibility of women within AIChE and the profession.

Implementation Plan
The Task Force outlined six action items to be completed within the next year to launch the implementation of the above strategies.
Determination and appointment by Council of the interim leadership and membership of the Women's Initiatives Committee [January 1998].
Definition of the management structure and responsibilities for the Women's Initiatives Committee [March 1998].
Approval fo the operational by-laws for the Women's Initiatives Committee [Target for ratification: 1999].
Development and execution of a communication plan to announce the formation of the Women's Initiatives Committee, its mission and goals, and its planned strategic activities [Begin upon Council approval of this report and continue].
Establishment of a permanent Women's Initiatives Committee and integration of this new entity with the new volunteer organizational structure [November 1998].
Identification of AIChE resource requirements (In addition to continuing in-kind contributions by volunteers) and allocations of staff [Fiscal 1999 budget due May 1998. Estimated start-up costs for 1998 are $4500].