Women in Economics at Berkeley (WEB) is an organization that brings together the community of women studying Economics at the graduate level. One night in November 2010 Willa Friedman, Jamie McCasland, and Ana Rocca had the idea of organizing a gathering where women graduate students could discuss issues they were dealing with as female economists (or just economists, in general) in the department and in the field. By 2012 WEB was sponsoring social events every semester and had secured funding through the Graduate Economics Association in the Economics Department.
At one such WEB breakfast in the Winter of 2014, Lydia Ashton, Sandile Hlatshwayo, Aisling Scott, and Megan Stevenson decided to organize a research workshop for women. The purpose of the Women in Economics Research workshop (WIER) was to provide a welcoming space for women to present and receive feedback on their research-in-progress. Funding for the workship was provided by each of the three participating departments: Economics, Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Haas School of Business. After a successful year of workshops, WIER and WEB merged and began initiatives beyond research seminars and community building events.
The new iteration of WEB established itself as a voice advocating for women in the Economics profession at Berkeley. Community building expanded to include panel discussions with faculty and recent graduates. Different formats for the research seminar improved participation and feedback to presenters. A new branch of WEB reached out actively to faculty, and worked closely with search committees to improve diversity in faculty recruitment. Working with faculty, WEB was able to secure a stable source of funding from the participating departments. Another group of WEB members began undergraduate mentorship activities in conjunction with the Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge (which was led by Martha L. Olney). The culmination of this effort was the formation in Spring of 2015 of an equivalent undergraduate organization for women in Economics (UWEB).
As of Autumn 2016, a blog will begin to open up a dialogue about the status of diversity in the Economics profession. A new initiative working with departments on graduate admissions is also starting up.