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Sound Perspectives
Lauren M. Ronsse
1110 South 67th Street Omaha, Nebraska 68182-0816 USA
Tracianne B. neilsen
Brigham Young University N311 ESC Provo, Utah 84097 USA
Twenty-Five Years
of the ASA Women in Acoustics Committee
It has been 25 years since the inception of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Women in Acoustics (WIA) Committee (WIAC). To commemorate the 25-year anniversary, this Sound Perspectives article provides a brief historic overview of the WIAC and describes some of the initial goals and ongoing initiatives. Sound Per- spectives articles in future issues of Acoustics Today will talk about other aspects of the WIAC and its role in the Society.
 Women have always been a minority in the Society. There was at least one woman charter member of the ASA, Katherine Frehafer of the Goucher College Physics Department (1925-1952). (It was common at that time to list people by their ini- tials so there may have been others.) Some of the earliest records on ASA mem- ber demographics are from 1973 when women only comprised 4% of the Society’s membership. By the early 1990s, the percentage of women membership in the ASA had increased to just 12% (Figure 1), with women comprising 10% or less of most technical committees (TCs; Table 1). In 1992, Alexandra (Alex) Tolstoy solicited Herman (Hank) Medwin, president of the ASA, about the formation of a com- mittee for women in the ASA. With his support, Alex founded the WIA ad hoc committee and was the first chair. The original ad hoc committee had a female representative from each technical area of the ASA. The WIAC was accepted as a full administrative committee of the ASA in 1996. “It was an auspicious beginning,” recalls Alex Tolstoy.
The original goals of the WIAC were aimed at increasing women involvement in the ASA and improving visibility of women in the Society. Specific goals were to (1) increase women attendance at TC meetings and the number of women fellows in the Society, (2) organize sessions at ASA meetings, (3) initiate a women’s lun- cheon at ASA meetings, (4) establish a mentoring program, and (5) investigate
 Figure 1.Plot of the percentage of women in the ASA membership
66 | Acoustics Today | Winter 2017 | volume 13, issue 4 ©2017 Acoustical Society of America. All rights reserved.

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