Athena and the New York Academy of Sciences Announce
Collaboration at the United Nations 
Initiative unveiled at UN’s Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

SAN DIEGO, May 14, 2019 – Athena and the New York Academy of Sciences announce their partnership on a new strategic initiative to advance gender equality during the United Nations 4th Annual Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals. 

This jointly developed program, named the Athena Assembly, will convene a three-year consortium of 15 to 20 global companies to establish, pilot, implement and publish a road map for achieving diversity and inclusion in the STEM workplace. 

Answering the call from STEM companies struggling to meet workforce gender and diversity goals, the Athena Assembly will deliver data driven tools and methodologies that companies can implement as they seek to attract and retain female talent and achieve their diversity and inclusion goals. This initiative is not a gender diversity diagnostic exercise; rather, it is a highly structured program to produce research-based, actionable tools in the next three years that member companies can implement to lead to a diverse and inclusive company. 

Addressing the particular challenges of women working in STEM, this initiative seeks to help companies diversify their workforce by providing support to achieve the UN Global Compact’s Sustainable Development Goal #5, gender equality, with an initial focus on engaging California-based technology companies. 

“As the data demonstrates, a diverse workforce leads to better products faster revenue growth and higher company valuations, and illustrates the competence of a company’s leadership team,” said Holly Smithson, Athena CEO.  “This initiative will empower companies with the means to transform their workplace and enjoy the proven business rewards associated with a diverse workforce.” 

“In addition to its 200+ year history, its extraordinary Members from Presidents Jefferson and Monroe to Darwin, Lord Kelvin, Louis Pasteur and one of every six Nobel Laureates in the sciences in the history of the Awards, the New York Academy of Sciences is proud of its distinguished women Members from Margaret Meade to Nobel Laureates Barbara McClintock and Rosalyn Yalow.  We  are especially proud of our decades of support for women scientists beginning with the world’s first “women in science” conference held in 1977,” said Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO. “This highly valued alliance with Athena will play a significant role in the Academy’s long-term objective to achieve gender parity across all STEM career disciplines.”  

Athena is a women’s empowerment organization that fast tracks women in STEM through leadership development. In transforming female scientists and technologists into corporate leaders, the goal is to widen the bridge and empower 1 million women leading in STEM, by 2030. Its 20+ year history of advancing women in one of the nation's leading STEM hubs marks Athena as a premier women's empowerment advocate. For more information visit:  and follow @athenasandiego.

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at

Media Contact:
Karin Fair

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