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Welcoming Environment Statement

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Statement on Non-Discrimination at AWM Activities

It is the policy of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) that all participants in AWM activities will enjoy a welcoming environment that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. As a professional organization, the AWM is committed to fostering an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas. In pursuit of that ideal, the AWM is committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment for all AWM members and participants in AWM-sponsored events, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. Harassment, sexual or otherwise, is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of AWM activities.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is strictly prohibited. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Fact Sheet on Sexual Harassment, “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” A similar description applies to schools at all levels under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Professional meetings and conferences are considered to be an extension of work and school environments. Behavior or language that is welcome/acceptable to one person many be unwelcome/offensive to another. Consequently, individuals must use discretion to ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others. This is especially important for those in positions of authority since individuals with lower rank or status may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behavior.
 Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional comments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome, is personally offensive, debilitates morale, and therefore, interferes with work effectiveness. The following are examples of behavior that, when unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment: sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; inappropriate invitations to or uninvited entrances to conference lodgings, verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; sexually explicit jokes; unnecessary touching.

Other Types of Harassment

Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. This conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material (for example, in conference talks or sessions) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.

Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all attendees at AWM activities, including mathematicians, students, guests, staff, contractors, and exhibitors, participating in the scientific sessions and social events of any AWM meeting or other activity.

Further Resources

Resources for dealing with sexual or other forms of harassment are available on the web site of the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics.


The policy adopted by the American Astronomical Society, which can be found at, was helpful in the creation of this document.