ASME believes there is no place for violence or racism. Period.
ASME Update on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives
Apr 7, 2021
by Tom Costabile, P.E. ASME Executive Director/CEO
As much as we are hopeful and thankful for the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, all of us remain concerned in the wake of far too many recent acts of violence, racism, and hate in our world. We have been clear: ASME believes there is no place for violence or racism. Period.
ASME leadership is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our global engineering community as we fulfill our mission. That commitment dates back many years and our work is ongoing. We celebrate the diverse range of voices, perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences of our community to inspire others to join us as we advance our profession for the benefit of humanity.
It is our conscious intention to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our programs, events, member outreach, learning and development opportunities, scholarships, publications, and communications, and to create safe spaces for groups and individuals to share concerns and discuss solutions. We understand there is true value in diversity. We encourage and support our members and volunteers as we focus our energy and problem-solving expertise to where they can make the most meaningful impact, to live our core values in our technical pursuits, as in our efforts to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are central to reducing inequality, poverty, and gender inequality worldwide. We also lend our collective voice to important policy conversations and developments to address inequality at the federal level and are developing more tools for our Section and Division Leaders to do the same at the local level.
Here are a few examples of recent progress toward the initiatives we outlined last June:
- ASME’s Engineering for Change continues to grow its impact across the globe through its accessible digital platform and signature Engineering for Change Fellowship Program. The program is guided by a diverse steering committee and is expanding from 25 research fellows last year to 50 research fellows this year. Over 600 applicants from 80 countries have applied to be a part of the program for this year and the program has historically been 56% female. These fellows leverage their engineering training and expertise in projects that help to address structural racism and effect lasting social justice.
- In January of 2021, ASME convened the first ever conference on Increasing Women in Mechanical Engineering, attended by over 450 participants from around the world. The conference aimed to understand the barriers to greater female participation in ME. Conference outcomes and best practices were documented in a publicly available knowledge space. A follow up conference will be held in 2022 to advance the recommendations.
- ASME continues to invest and expand content and experiences within its K-12 STEM Program known as INSPIRE. During the current academic year, INSPIRE program elements have reached over 130,000 K-12 students across the United States, 77% of whom attend Title 1 schools and 58% are from groups underrepresented in STEM. By offering digital content and virtual experiences highlighting STEM careers and real-world examples of engineers as problem-solvers for good, INSPIRE opens a pathway for the next generation of innovators and engineers.
- The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy Committee and the DE&I staff team are developing an ASME toolkit that Section and Division Leaders and can use to promote these values at the local level. We have a framework for the toolkit and have identified the content that will be included. Our goal is that the toolkit will go live online by the end of the fiscal year in June.
If you are interested in more information or would like to get involved in any of these initiatives, please reach out to your Section or Division Leaders or a member of the ASME staff. We will continue to provide periodic updates on this important work. In the meantime, we wish you, your families and communities good health and safety.
Thomas Costabile, P.E.
ASME Executive Director/CEO