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Charter of the WHOI Women's Committee

May 2019


Resolved that the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have a committee of elected members whose duty it is to consider matters of special concern to women.


The Women's Committee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has, as its primary charge, to be a forum for the ideas and concerns of women associated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Each member is charged to make herself aware of pertinent issues, and to be accessible to the women around her, to better represent them in the Committee. When necessary, the Committee should seek cooperation and information from members of the Institution Staff and Administration.

Electorate and Eligibility for Election

All female employees or graduate students may vote in a Women's Committee election. A candidate for election must have been associated with the Institution for at least one year, may not be currently serving on the Committee and may not be a temporary employee.

Committee Size and Term

The Committee shall consist of eleven women: nine at-large members, one MIT-WHOI Joint Program (JP) student, and one postdoctoral researcher (postdoc). Each member shall be elected for a 3-year term with the option of standing for re-election. Students and postdocs may choose to serve for an abbreviated term of no less than 1 year. Each year, three at-large members shall be replaced by election.

If any member of the Committee wishes to cycle off before the end of their 3-year term, they must nominate at least one woman from their same career track as a potential replacement.

The Women's Committee should have as a goal to represent the full spectrum of women at WHOI through its membership, including at least one member of the administrative, technical, engineering, and scientific staffs, in addition to a JP student and postdoc.

Amended 1996 to increase size from six to eight women, and 2019 to increase size from eight to nine women.

Election Procedure

The names of nominees may be determined by (a) open nominations, and/or (b) by a nominating committee chosen by the then-current Women's Committee. The names of those nominees willing to serve will be listed alphabetically on a ballot issued to everyone eligible to vote. If desired, nominees may be listed by categories. Each member of the electorate may cast up to four votes by secret ballot. The outgoing members of the Committee are charged with running the election and counting the ballots. Ties may be decided by lot, and if a duly elected member must step down, the person with the next highest number of votes (or next highest in the same category) shall replace her.

Officers and Procedures

Minutes shall be taken of each meeting for distribution to all members of the Committee by an Acting Secretary. From time to time, the Committee may designate one of its members to act on its behalf, for purposes of interacting with other persons or groups. The Women's Committee shall develop its own operating procedures.


The Committee shall meet as the need arises, but at least once in each quarter of the year. An open meeting to report on the Committee's activities shall be held at least once a year.


Amendments to this charter may be petitioned by any twenty members of the electorate. Amendments must be approved in secret ballot by a majority of the electorate.