"WICB" began in the early 1970s as a group of women cell biologists, sensitized by the women’s movement of the time, who began to notice the under-representation of women in academia in general and cell biology in particular. A mimeographed newsletter began circulating, and ad hoc meetings were held at ASCB meetings, with notices posted in women’s washrooms. Two engaging histories of the WICB pioneers and their adventures have been written by Laura Williams, August and October 1996.
In 1992, the ASCB Council invited WICB to become a standing committee of the ASCB, and its by-then traditional activities at the annual meetings have continued apace.
- We offer an annual Junior and Senior Award followed by an evening program on some topic germane to being a scientist.
- We organize a Career Lunch Table program where persons self-select to talk to those with experience on a wide range of topics (e.g. teaching at liberal arts colleges, the shift from academia to biotechnology, dual-career partnerships).
- More recently, we have arranged a professionally led workshop on such topics as conflict management.
In addition to its presence at the annual meeting, WICB is also poised year-round to provide career support and advice. We respond to reports of discriminatory practices, offer a speaker referral service to help program organizers identify women speakers, and produce monthly columns for the ASCB Newsletter. Perusal of these columns provides an excellent overview of the WICB mandate, which is to consider and nurture the human side of being a cell biologist. Two collections of WICB columns, called Career Advice for Life Scientists, have been published Volume I and Volume II.
This website is geared to serve as a resource for women and men at all stages in their scientific trajectories. We would very much appreciate any feedback on its virtues and shortcomings. If you encounter any articles, images, or links that you think would be appropriate for the site, please forward them to the WICB chair.