In 2005, the Society for Political Methodology founded the Diversity Committee and has been active in encouraging increased participation by women at professional conferences. At the 2006 APSA meeting, Jan Box-Steffensmeier organized and hosted an informal happy hour for women, an opportunity for women to take a break and network with other political scientists. In 2006, the Diversity Committee targeted selected women and invited them to attend the annual summer methods meeting by offering assistance through the NSF grant for their transportation and lodging and waiving the $200 registration fee. Fifteen travel fellowships were awarded to female scholars to attend the 23rd Annual Political Methodology Meeting at the University of California, Davis. The invitations and travel fellowships allowed junior faculty to list attendance at the meeting on their vitas. We had a 93% positive response rate to the invitations. A record number of women attended the 2006 meeting, with an inaugural First Annual Women’s Dinner hosted by Cindy Kam (Davis) for women fellows. In 2007, the Second Annual Women’s Dinner was hosted by Suzanna Linn at the 24th Annual Political Methodology Meeting at Pennsylvania State University. Female graduate students and faculty were invited to the dinner, and 18 female faculty members received fellowships to attend the meeting. In 2008, a similar number of female scholars received fellowships to attend the 25th Annual Meeting at the University of Michigan. Elisabeth Gerber hosted the Third Annual Women’s Dinner in Ann Arbor, and Michelle Dion hosted the Fourth Annual Women’s Dinner at the Society’s meeting in New Haven in 2009. In 2010, Megan Shannon hosted a women’s happy hour at the annual meeting at Iowa, in 2011, Xun Pang hosted a pre-conference dinner at Princeton, and in 2012 Sunshine Hillygus hosted a dinner at UNC.
Out of the Diversity Committee efforts grew the Visions in Methodology (VIM) conferences. Jan Box-Steffensmeier organized and hosted the first VIM meeting in 2008 at Ohio State University. Since then, four additional VIM conferences have been held: 2010 at Iowa hosted by Sara Mitchell and Caroline Tolbert, 2011 at OSU hosted by Jan Box-Steffensmeier and Corrine McConnaughy, 2012 at Penn State hosted by Sona Golder, and 2013 at Florida State hosted by Megan Shannon.