Women in Academia Support Network (WISAN)
The inception of the Women in Academia Support Network (WIASN), started as a group of six friends and has now become a network with over 11,000 members in more than 60 countries . Founder of WIASN Amy Bonsall attended a School of Health Sciences (SHS) Athena SWAN meeting in January discussing WIASN and its benefits.
The WIASN is an inclusive and intersectional space for women academics. They use an inclusive definition of “women” as used by AdaCamp and welcome ‘trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people who are significantly female-identified’ (quoted in Geek Feminism, 2014).
Counselling and mentorship is available for members of WIASN for free. The WIASN also supports women returning to the workplace after a period of absence. The network has a pro bono lawyer (UK law) and careers coach to support women in this situation. Within the main group, there are also sub-groups to meet needs, including a BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) sub-group and mental health sub-group. Members are encouraged to interact within the central platform to promote networking between people of all levels and experiences.
Support from supervisors can vary across academia. The WIASN provides a space for virtual support and networking that some women academics may not have access to in their roles. The network focusses on providing a solidarity driven approach to surviving and thriving in academia; celebrating women’s achievements and developing strategies to bring about subtle change to systemically sexist institutions.
WIASN is currently not monetised – you can join here!