Research Lab Bench


IWill MCW is a community-wide campaign encouraging dialogue to create a shared language, understanding, and positive action. Support for equity across gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and parental choice drives this campaign. This grass-roots initiative focuses on individual action – people pledge to act and then ask others to join them in this movement.

IWill MCW 3.0 Gender-Equity Pledge Campaign

Broadening Gender Norms – Mitigating Stereotypes
(March – October 2023)

The IWill 3.0 Gender-Equity Pledge Campaign launches on March 2, 2023, in conjunction with AWSM's Women's History Month Symposium.

About IWill 3.0

AWSM thinks of gender norms as social and cultural attitudes and expectations regarding behaviors, preferences, products, professions, or knowledge that are appropriate for individuals based on their gender identity. Gender norms reinforce stereotypes and are often supported by unequal distribution of resources. Compliance with gender norms (or not) may limit individual expression and opportunities.

Given that definition, AWSM hopes that the IWill theme, "Broadening Gender Norms – Mitigating Stereotypes,” will help everyone understand the impact of gender norms on themselves and their work environment and to mitigate the impacts of stereotypes on the lives of their colleagues, their leaders and leadership structure, and on our systems of education, research, and the community that we care for.

Throughout 2023, AWSM will share content related to pledges, seeking to answer key questions as a community, including:

  • What qualities make someone a high-performing learner or worker?
  • Who is assigned to the roles of “taking charge” vs. “taking care,” and why?
  • How do gender expectations affect the division of labor at work/home?
  • Is gender something we put on or perform – and if so, how?

Here are the pledges we encourage our MCW community to consider, or design their own:

  1. I Will examine how I perform, display, or embody the spectrum of masculinity and femininity in my work.
  2. I Will attend an IWill event focused on broadening gender norms and mitigating stereotypes.
  3. I Will explore how my expectations of gender roles affect the division of labor in my workplace and/or household, including mental load.
  4. I Will be supportive of conversations on how people experience gender and gender stereotypes. I Will strive to make changes in my day-to-day work to make things better as a result of these conversations.
  5. I Will challenge my own and others' thoughts about how gender impacts MCW’s view of a high-performing worker and will recognize the many different qualities and commitments that valued employees bring to the institution.
  6. I Will look for ways to mitigate gender stereotypes in my job assignments. In ways that I can, I Will ensure equal distribution of “taking care roles” and “taking charge roles” across all gender identities.

As MCW continues to seek inclusive excellence, IWill commit to gender equity by helping MCW become a place where everyone feels seen, heard, supported, and valued.

John R. Raymond, Sr., MD. President and CEO, Medical College of Wisconsin

Previous IWill Campaigns

If you would like to interact with future campaigns, please sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Monthly newsletter sign up

IWill I.0 (2019)

In the fall of 2019, we asked what each of us would do to be a force for gender equity. Five pledge themes were identified in support of this effort:

  1. Be a Workplace Ally – Support, Mentor and Sponsor Women
  2. Support all Parents – Increase Awareness of Maternal Bias
  3. Mitigate Unconscious Bias – Respond to Microaggressions
  4. Create Belonging – Support Inclusion and Affinity
  5. Creating a Sexual and Gender Harassment Free Environment – How You Can Help

Each person who pledged received information on how to Learn, Reflect, and Act on their pledge. Resources included websites, articles, podcasts, and other learning materials.

Participants had the opportunity to make their pledge public on MCW’s intranet; 53% of participants chose to share their pledge. The rest of the pledges were known to AWSM, but not shared.

We exceeded our initial goal of 1,100 pledges. Additionally, an IWill MCW manuscript by Drs. Maurana, Raymond, Kerschner and Ellinas was published in 2021.

View the IWill MCW Initiative Initial Pledge Period Report (PDF)

View the manuscript

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, follow-up to the original campaign was delayed until May 2020. Of the 1400 original respondents, 781 responded to the follow up survey.

View the IWill MCW Follow Up Survey (PDF)

IWill 2.0 (2021)

IWill MCW 2.0 was a campus-wide, pledge-based campaign that encouraged faculty, staff, and students to open meaningful dialogue to create shared language, understanding and positive action. The 10-day campaign electrified personal commitments to gender equity through daily communications that included a microlesson, an action step and resources to dig deeper.

The campaign ran from September 20 to October 1. We encourage you to engage with it by reviewing the content from the ten days. Because this was an internal MCW campaign some links will be unavailable to the public.

Nearly 865 pledges were received from faculty, staff, students, and community members.

Follow Up Survey results:

  • 91% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed the IWill campaigns improve gender equity at MCW.
  • 88% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed they have the power to create gender equity in their work environment.

View the Center for the Advancement of Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM) FY 2021 Annual Report (PDF)

What I pledge to you today is that we will move the needle... A conversation is not enough. It's time for action. It's time for change.

Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, Provost and Executive Vice President and Dean, School of Medicine | 2019 AAMC Leadership Summit

I think the IWill campaign has helped to raise visibility for the importance of gender equity and the role culture plays in promoting and sustaining an equitable work community. I think the IWill campaign also has shown how top-down and bottom-up approaches are both needed to make positive change happen.

Alicia Witten, Program Director, Office of the Senior Vice President for Strategic Academic Partnerships, Kern National Network for Caring and Character in Medicine

IWill has both educated me and equipped me to improve gender equity. I know we have made a difference in our little corner of MCW, and I hope your work will continue as this must be a sustained effort.

Ryan Spellecy, PhD, Ursula von der Ruhr Chair in Bioethics; Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Our Call to Action

Time alone will not bring equity. We must act to build an environment where all genders can thrive.

Contact Us

Learn more about IWill MCW.

Center for the Advancement of Women in Science and Medicine
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226