To help people better understand the role and goals of GWAMIT, we have compiled this page of frequently asked questions.
Why does MIT need GWAMIT?
Graduate women are a growing minority at MIT: the number has increased 55% in the last 15 years to 32% 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 such as the Graduate Women’s Group and Cheney Room 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.
Who attends GWAMIT events?
Event attendees have included male and female graduate students (also from outside MIT), faculty, alumni, staff, and undergraduates.
How many people are a part of GWAMIT?
We have over 40 people involved in our core operations and over 2,000 graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff on our mailing list.
How can men benefit from GWAMIT programming?
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. We also believe men can play a pivotal role in shifting workplace culture through education and example.
As a faculty member or alum, how can I get more involved with GWAMIT?
You are welcome to propose event ideas and/or let us know your desire to speak or serve on a panel (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are local to the Boston area, you may also want to consider joining the Mentoring Program.
As someone who is not a graduate student, faculty member, or alum, how can I be involved with GWAMIT?
You are welcome to join our mailing list, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, and join our Facebook page. We encourage you to attend our events, help advertise our events, and help spread the word about GWAMIT. We encourage you to tell others, especially graduate women, about what you learn at GWAMIT events. As always, we are open to comments about past events and suggestions for future events.