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The Board of Directors convened two committees with the specific charge of 1) improving gender equity and 2) examining our code-of-conduct and anti-harassment policy and recommending communication strategies, resources and reporting/enforcement procedures.

Women in OSA Rapid Action Committee (WOSA RAC)

In 2016, the Member and Education Services Council (MES Council) established the WOSA RAC. The intent was to review the participation of women within our programs, positions of leadership and recognitions. The RAC partnered with staff and volunteers representing the following programs: senior members, fellows, awards, publications, meetings and governance.


  1. Assess gender distribution and establish metrics to increase participation by women.
  2. Make recommendations for sustainable “diversity and inclusion” programming, networking, and awareness campaigns.
  3. Foster a culture (leadership, volunteers and staff) which supports a sustained and focused approach to addressing various diversity challenges.


Based on our data, staff and volunteer leadership feedback, available statistics on gender in STEM, and best practices for improving gender equity within professional societies, the RAC recommended and the Board accepted nine success metrics. 

Between 2017-2021, we are focused on increasing the percentage of women participating in governance and award committees, speaking and attending meetings, editing our journals, being nominated for fellow and awards and receiving the distinction of senior member.

Rapid Action Committee Members:

  • A. Agrawal, City Univ., UK
  • D. Fittinghoff, LLNL, USA
  • D. Herrin, OSA, USA
  • M. Lipson, Columbia Univ., USA
  • J. Mehltretter, OSA, USA
  • J. Qiao, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
  • E. Rogan, OSA, USA
  • J. Rolland, Univ. of Rochester, USA
  • Y. Soudagar, Neurescence Inc., Canada
  • C. Stark, OSA Foundation, USA 

The Code-of-Conduct Working Group

In 2018, the Board of Directors established the Code-of-Conduct Working Group. The goal was to examine our current anti-harassment policy and code-of-conduct and to recommend communication strategies, resources and reporting/enforcement procedures for Board consideration and approval.


  1. Review our current policy and code-of-conduct.
  2. Discuss current dissemination and communication efforts related to the policy and code.
  3. Recommend communication strategies to raise awareness of the policy and code.
  4. Explore additional resources, incident reporting structures, and investigation procedures and confirm potential remedial actions.

Approved Recommendations:

  1. Adopt the revised OSA Anti-harassment Policy and Code of Conduct
  2. Launch an online and phone incident reporting and tracking system.
  3. Require our meeting attendees to acknowledge the anti-harassment policy and code of conduct via the registration process.
  4. Require all sponsored or endorsed meetings to post an anti-harassment policy and code-of-conduct or to adopt our language.
  5. Post signage referencing code-of-conduct and reporting options at all our meetings.
  6. Offer Code-of-Conduct, Ally Skills and Harassment Resistance training.
  7. Survey members on their experiences pertaining to harassment.

Working Group Members:

  • A. Agrawal, Univ. of Tech Sydney, Australia
  • G. Bennett, Florida Inst. of Tech., USA
  • T. Erdogan, Plymouth Grating Lab, USA
  • M. Lipson, Columbia Univ., USA
  • M. de Sterke, Univ. of Sydney, Australia
  • E. Rogan, OSA, USA
  • C. Stark, OSA Foundation, USA


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