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Media Advisory 13-016

NSF hosts North America's first International Gender Summit, Nov. 13-15

Interdisciplinary and cross-sector partners gather from across the globe to promote greater diversity in STEM workforce and leadership

Two young women in a lab.

Summit promises to influence thinking about gender throughout the scientific enterprise.
Credit and Larger Version

November 12, 2013

For the first time, more than 130 speakers from the United States, Canada, Mexico and across Europe will gather in Washington, D.C., for an International Gender Summit to explore the role of gender and diversity as drivers of excellence in research and innovation.

Under the leadership of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in collaboration with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; National Council for Science and Technology; U.S. National Institutes of Health; Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Portia Ltd., U.K., and in association with the European Commission, this year's event builds on the progress established by the two previous summits that took place in Europe in 2011 and 2012.

"We are thrilled to host the first International Gender Summit in North America," said summit Chair Wanda Ward, who also serves as director of NSF's Office of International and Integrative Activities. "With three days of rich and edifying sessions, I am convinced that we will make significant progress in advancing diversity in the science and engineering enterprise across the globe."

The 2013 summit promises to leverage the international capacity to advance the knowledge base about the influence of gender on the efficacy, quality and success in promoting discovery and innovation in the scientific enterprise. This year's summit will devise a roadmap for action for North America that will serve as a model for developing similar roadmaps in other regions around the world.

The summit kicks off at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the Washington Hilton. Program highlights will include: video addresses by Vice President of the European Parliament Oldrich Vlasak and the European Commission's Commissioner for Science Marie Geoghegan-Quinn and a keynote address by Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama and chair of the White House Council of Women and Girls. The day's formal program will close with remarks by U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson at 5 p.m.

Throughout the three-day summit, plenary panels composed of top researchers and leaders from around the world will discuss timely topics, with sessions to include:

  • Demonstrating Evidence of How Incorporating Sex and Gender Consideration into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Research and Innovation Informs Policy

  • Harnessing the Gender Dimension to Address Global Scientific and Societal Challenges

  • Developing Joint Policies for Innovation and Partnership in STEM Higher Education

  • Incorporating the Gender Dimension Across the Research Continuum

Dozens of discussion sessions address issues such as: equity for excellence in research teams; cultivating and promoting future leaders; empowering voices of early-career scientists; integrating gender into research content and methods; and improving career-life balance.

The day's full agenda is accessible from the International Gender Summit Home Page.

For live and on-demand webcast segments over the next 3 days, visit NSF's webcast registration site.

Interviews with participants may be arranged by request. Contact: Lisa-Joy Zgorski:


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311,

Program Contacts
Wanda E. Ward, NSF, (703) 292-8040,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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