In the 1990s, studies showed that policies to promote equality of opportunity for women took on increasing relevance to science and engineering workforce policy. Although the number of full graduate science and engineering students enrolled in US institutions increased, National Science Foundation (NSF) statistics revealed that enrollment was greatest in the social sciences and life sciences and weakest in engineering, physical science and especially mathematics and computer science.
Women of Color magazine hosted its first annual Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Conference in 1995, soon after the Fourth World Conference on Women, which was determined to advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity.
Every October, the Annual Women of Color in STEM Conference continues to highlight personal and career development seminars, awards programs, and panel discussions on the issues and challenges faced by women of color in the field of technology. Speakers come from academia, from the government, and from private industry to share their insights and information on the state of the workplace. The two-day career fair features representatives from Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and research institutions, on hand to discuss opportunities available in STEM-related jobs. The awards program represents a celebration of excellence, a platform for empowerment from which women who are honored can send a message to young people and leaders that the talent pool is painted in many different colors and is not limited to one sex or race.