Tagged / Athena SWAN

‘Doing Diversity Better: Interrogating ethnic and gender equality among BAME academics in HE’ April 22 14.00-16.00

The Women’s Academic Network (WAN) at BU are delighted to host this powerful and timely public engagement, open-to-all, Q&A Panel Discussion on one of the most important and urgent issues facing Higher Education (HE) in the UK today.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor John Vinney, will formally open the event which brings together four hugely eminent women academics of-colour, as well as a representative from the Bournemouth University Student Union (SUBU), who are all working within the broad areas of racialisation/ethnicisation and social inequalities. Each panellist will bring their own particular research expertise together with intellectual and experiential understandings to a grounded, candid and in-depth discussion of diversity in contemporary HE.

For more details and registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-academic-network-bournemouth-university-doing-diversity-better-tickets-146743055429

The panel context

UK HE is characterised by a homogeneity that fails to reflect social diversity, particularly in terms of ethnicity, gender and social class. These issues need to be located within a complex terrain of interwoven, intersectional experiences. The handy portmanteau term: ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) can also unhelpfully work to subsume entire groups who are otherwise subject to different levels of discrimination that may thereby remain less visible and therefore neglected. For example, a UCU 2019 report recorded that of a total number of professors in the UK, those self-identifying as ‘Black’ numbered just 85 individuals, and of these a mere 25 were women (Rollock 2019). While recent HESA (2020) data confirms that less than 1% of UK professors self-identify as Black. Unsurprisingly, Mizra (2019, p. 39) refers with horror to the overwhelming ‘hideous’ whiteness of academia. This alarming lack of representation among minority ethnic groups in HE not only exemplifies a dereliction of social justice but is demonstrably counterproductive to the academy across every area of scholarly endeavour, including inclusive pedagogy. The Race Equality Charter under AdvanceHE offers a valuable tool towards remedial action, but without direct debate, will towards and strategies for root-and-branch sector change, such charters are unlikely to create the necessary traction.

Our Panellists:

Professor Kalwant Bhopal is Professor of Education and Social Justice Professor of Education and Social Justice Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Education, University of Birmingham

Professor Ann Phoenix is Professor of Psychosocial Studies, at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education

Dr Samantha Iwowo is the Programme Leader of MA Directing, Film and TV at BU.

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya is Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London

Ms Chiko Bwalya is the Education Vice President of SUBU.

We in WAN look forward to welcoming you.

Colleagues – please share among your networks. Students welcome

Reminder about the BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who are often employed on short term contacts linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment due to breaks in employment, job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances through early career planning, forward research project planning, redeployment where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered in exceptional situations) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2020 to:

  1. Update the process to link the funding model with the conditions at the point of application:
    1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap between funding (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered). If these conditions are met at the point of application and the application is approved then the central budget will cover 100 per cent of the salary and employers’ on-costs during the bridging period.
    2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period. If these conditions are met at the point of application and the application is approved then the central budget will cover 50 per cent of the salary costs during the bridging period. The Faculty will be required to meet the remaining 50 per cent of the salary and employers’ on-costs during the bridging period.
  2. Employment legislation updates.
  3. Add an additional financial approval to the application process.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

 

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena Swan action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

Sixteen Days of Activism: end violence against women

The start of 16 days of activism against Gender-based Violence commenced on 25th November 2020 on the day known as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. A report: UK Femicides 2009-2018 published on the 25/11/20 has revealed that the number of women killed each year by men has stayed the same at between 124 and 168. From 2009 to 2018 at least 1,425 women were killed by men in the UK. What do these figures mean? Sadly it translates as :

  • a man killed a woman every three days and
  • a woman was killed by a male partner or ex-partner every four days.

In addition, the methods used, the contexts in which women are killed and their relationship with the men who kill them have changed little over the ten-year period. Women are killed by their husbands, partners and ex-partners; by sons, grandsons and other male relatives; by acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours and strangers. The rate at which men kill women shows no sign of reducing. The report is dedicated to all those women with each one named. Every single woman and girl in this report mattered. The Femicide Census is a call to action for change. femicidecensus.org     

During these 16 days of activism what can we do? What is in no doubt is that ending violence against women is mine and your business, it’s everybody’s business. UN Women have ten suggestions in which we can make a difference:

  • Listen to and believe survivors
  • Teach the next generation and learn from them                                           
  • Call for responses and services fit for purpose
  • Understand consent
  • Learn the signs of abuse and how you can help
  • Start a conversation
  • Stand against rape culture
  • Fund women’s organizations
  • Know the data and demand more of it

https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/11/compilation-take-action-to-help-end-violence-against-women

Maternity Action Report

I attended a zoom meeting on the 25/11/20 hosted by Maternity Action (MA), which is the UK’s leading charity committed to ending inequality and improving the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child’s early years. Part of their remit is the delivery of free, specialist advice through their telephone helplines, on employment rights, maternity pay and benefits. Maternity Action responds to 2,000 calls to their Maternity Rights Advice Line each year from women facing pregnancy discrimination at work or needing help understanding their employment rights. Shockingly, pregnant women or new mums experience high levels of discrimination and harassment, with circa 54,000 women losing their jobs each year as a direct result of pregnancy discrimination. One in 20 new mothers are made redundant during pregnancy, maternity leave or on their return to work.

The purpose of zoom meeting was to launch their latest report: Insecure Labour: the realities of insecure work for pregnant women and new mothers. The charity worked closely with University and College Union (UCU) and UNISON in the production of the report. For both these unions the recent growth in insecure work has been a major issue for their members. They and MA have defined insecure work to include zero hours contracts, short term/fixed term contracts, short hours contracts, agency, casual and seasonal workers and low paid ‘self-employed contracts. From a higher education sector perspective, the use of fixed term contracts has increased in recent years and described by them as ‘endemic’.

Insecure contracts are prevalent in many female dominated sectors such as social care work, education and retail. Men are not exempt from insecure work, however, overwhelmingly, women workers are hugely impacted, due to the effect that pregnancy and maternity leave have on women’s job security and incomes and the unequal sharing of care and domestic labour in the home. The gender pay gap continues because of the impact on women of insecure work and associated low pay

This research report therefore explores the impact of insecure work on the rights of pregnant women and new mothers at work. Qualitative interviews were undertaken with ten pregnant and or new mothers who were in insecure work and their occupations ranged from a postgraduate research fellow, a teaching associate at a HEI, an advertising agency and another working for the NHS. Their lived experience of seeking to negotiate a safe working environment, a secure income and fair treatment is explored and reported on. The full report is available below:  https://maternityaction.org.uk/research-insecure-labour/

One of the attendees on the MA zoom session was from the TUC and she brought our attention to a report they published in June this year: Pregnant and precarious: new and expectant mums’ experiences of work during Covid-19. In this report the TUC surveyed over 3,400 pregnant women and mums on maternity leave exploring their experiences of work during the pandemic.

In brief the survey highlighted the following points:

  • One in four pregnant women and new mums experienced unfair treatment or discrimination at work including being singled out for redundancy or furlough.
  • Pregnant women’s health and safety rights are being routinely disregarded, leaving women feeling unsafe at work or without pay when they are unable to attend their workplaces.
  • Low-paid pregnant women are almost twice as likely as women on median to high incomes to have lost pay and or been forced to stop work (either by being required to take sick leave when they were not sick or to take unpaid leave, start their maternity leave early or leave the workplace altogether) because of unaddressed health and safety concerns. 
  • 71 per cent of new mums planning to return to work in the next three months are currently unable to find childcare to enable them to do so.

For the full report please click on the link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-06/PregMatCovid-19.pdf

 

 

Changes to the BU Bridging Fund Scheme

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who are often employed on short term contacts linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment due to breaks in employment, job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances through early career planning, forward research project planning, redeployment where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered in exceptional situations) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2020 to:

  1. Update the process to link the funding model with the conditions at the point of application:
      1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap between funding (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered). If these conditions are met at the point of application and the application is approved then the central budget will cover 100 per cent of the salary and employers’ on-costs during the bridging period.
      2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period. If these conditions are met at the point of application and the application is approved then the central budget will cover 50 per cent of the salary costs during the bridging period. The Faculty will be required to meet the remaining 50 per cent of the salary and employers’ on-costs during the bridging period.
  2. Employment legislation updates.
  3. Add an additional financial approval to the application process.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

 

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months and up to six months, in exceptional circumstances) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2019 to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six months in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
      1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
      2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months and up to six months, in exceptional circumstances) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2019 to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six months in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
      1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
      2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months and up to six months, in exceptional circumstances) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2019 to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six months in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
      1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
      2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

WAN seminar: Working Women and Flexible Working

Dr Zoe Young is one of those rare creatures: an academic organisational sociologist and practising consultant to industry for the development of gender-equitable policies around the issue of flexible working. She has recently published an important research monograph, based on her PhD, exploring the experiences of flexible working among working mothers. In WAN we were very pleased that Dr Young accepted our invitation to share her interesting findings to an engaged, mixed audience of academics and professional services, with a lively discussion ensuing.

Flexible working is often mooted as the panacea for gender-based inequities in the workplace in terms of stalling and interrupted career progression and gender pay gaps. Moreover, this is primarily a gendered issue as flexible working is most likely to be requested by women, and this for the equally gendered reason that it is mostly women who are expected to adapt their working lives to the demands of childcare.

The conventional argument for flexible working (which is different from part-time working) is that this will help women to balance family and work time better and in consequence will overcome gendered career inequities. But does it?

Dr Young’s research suggests otherwise, pointing out that there are multiple variations of flexible working that could potentially be offered to employees from a currently very limited menu. Not only is the menu unimaginative and meanly populated, but while women have a legal right to request flexible work, companies are under no legal obligation to comply. Her research illustrates the unnecessary stressors and casualties caused to women workers by organisations unwilling to adapt to employees’ changing circumstances – and how flexible working, as it is currently practiced, far from being a solution, may add to the issues that disadvantage women in the workplace.

At BU the benefits of promoting flexible working is being seriously explored by the Equal Pay Review Committee and by Athena SWAN committees. It is recognised that all posts ideally should be flexible working ones and that male colleagues should also be encouraged to consider new working modes in order to spread the potential benefits. However, as Dr Young’s research suggests, a very important outcome of ensuring greater gender representation for flexible working, is that it would also serve to minimise the currently feminised disadvantages associated with that elusive pursuit of a better work-life balance.

Coming soon – CROS and PIRLS 2019

Every two years Vitae runs the Careers in Research Online Survey and the Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey. Once again, BU will be participating in these important national surveys.

ThCareers in Research Online Survey CROS logoe Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) gathers the anonymous views of research staff in UK higher education institutions about their experiences, career aspirations and career development opportunities. At BU, those categorised by HR data as research staff will receive an invitation to complete this survey.

Principal-Investigators-and-Research-Leaders-Survey-PIRLS-logoThe Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) gathers anonymous views and experiences from principal investigators in relation to their role as managers and leaders of researchers and research groups. Based on data from RED (BU’s Research & Enterprise Database), and HR records, relevant BU academics will be invited to participate.

Both surveys are beneficial to BU:

  • Together they inform our policy and practice in researchers’ employment, management and career development
  • Provide knowledge of the views and experiences of research leaders across topics, including leadership, management and recognition
  • The surveys allow us to measure our progress over time and confidential comparisons with groups of institutions or national results
  • Provides evidence to support our institutional submissions, such as for the European HR Excellence in Research Award (we have recently retained this award following the recent six year review), implementation of the Concordat and Athena SWAN
  • They provide insight into the research environment element of the Research Excellence Framework

If eligible to participate, look out for your invitation, which it is anticipated will be sent out in the week commencing 22nd April 2019. The closing date for making your opinions known is 31st May 2019.

If you have any queries about either survey, please contact Emily Cieciura (Research Development & Support) via researchdev@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

BU Bridging Fund Scheme – updated

In summer 2015 we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) aconcordat to support the career development of researchersvoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme has recently been updated to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six month in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
          1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
          2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

Athena SWAN – February Newsletter

In the latest Athena SWAN newsletter you can read the news and events relating to gender equality, as well as why Athena SWAN is important to everyone at BU. There are lots of interesting articles in this edition, including information on the key institutional SWAN actions planned for 2019, an introduction to Professor Sarah Bate (the new chair of BU’s Athena SWAN Steering Group), and a link to BU’s career development fact sheet.

Athena SWAN focus groups

We will be submitting an application to be re-accredited with the bronze Athena SWAN award in Winter 2018. The bronze institution award requires universities to undertake an assessment of gender equality in the institution, including quantitative (staff data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) evidence and identifying both challenges and opportunities. We are holding a series of focus groups at different levels during Spring/Summer 2018 and all BU staff are invited to attend. These will provide rich qualitative data about staff experiences and perceptions, as well as suggestions for improvements, around key areas assessed via the SWAN process. The focus groups also show BU’s continuing commitment to gender equality and desire to engage with staff. The data will be reviewed by the SWAN Self-Assessment Team and Steering Group and will inform the award submission and action plan.

Details of the focus groups can be found here.  The five groups are as follows:

Title Date Time Location
Focus Group 2: Maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental leave Thursday 10th May 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 3: Flexible working and managing career breaks Tuesday 15th May 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 4: Childcare Thursday 7th June 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 1: Promotion (rescheduled from April) Monday 18th June 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 5: Workload model Tuesday 3rd July 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus

If you are unable to attend any of these focus groups, but still want to share your views please email diversity@bournemouth.ac.uk

To book a place on these sessions, please email Organisational Development.

Royal Society announces new Athena Prize Diversity Award

Royal SocietyThe Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, has announced a new national award which recognises individuals and teams in the UK research community who have contributed towards the advancement of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their institutions and organisations. The award aims to inspire innovation and leadership in diversity issues.

The Royal Society Athena Prize, to be awarded biennially, will join the Society’s prestigious set of medals and awards announced each summer.

Nominations for the inaugural 2016 round of the Royal Society Athena Prize will open in the new year, with more information on the selection criteria and nominations process to be provided nearer the time.

Speaking about the award, Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said, “It gives me great pleasure to be able to announce the establishment of the new Royal Society Athena Prize.

“I would like to encourage everyone in the research community to look around their institutions and organisations and think of who they might nominate for the Athena Prize. Do you know someone who has set up an innovative project that is contributing to the advancement of diversity in science, someone who is persistent in the face of adversity and limited funds, someone who is inspirational and has kick-started a culture change and should be recognised for their efforts? If so, we’d like to hear from you when we open up nominations for Royal Society Athena Prize in early 2016.”

The top project will receive a medal plus a cash prize of £5,000 and runners-up will receive a cash prize of £1,000. Prizes will be presented at the Royal Society’s annual autumn diversity conference, where the winners will talk about their projects.

The Royal Society is committed to promoting and increasing diversity in UK STEM. A diverse and inclusive scientific workforce draws from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences thereby maximising innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity.

For more about the Royal Society’s commitment to diversity please visit their diversity pages.

Open letter highlighting the need for more women in science

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Open letter to the Financial Times and the London Evening Standard

12 November 2015

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Sex Discrimination Act being passed in the UK. We applaud the progress that has been made since.

But in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), progress remains slow. Women make up just 14 per cent of the UK’s STEM workforce. We want to see this be nearer 30 per cent by 2020.

It’s not the quality of our female scientists or engineers that’s the issue. Girls are outperforming boys at school in STEM subjects, but we’re losing girls at every stage between the classroom and the boardroom. The challenge is attracting, retaining and promoting female talent in the workforce.

We need to inspire more girls to choose STEM qualifications as a route into fulfilling careers that benefit themselves, future employers and our economy. Changing the messages we give girls about STEM at school and at home, and identifying more positive role models, is the first step to achieving this.

But to be successful, this must be backed by strong public policy. We challenge the government to provide a clear commitment to accelerate diversity in our STEM industries.

We cannot afford to wait another forty years to achieve this change.

Signed:

Christine Flounders
Research and Development Manager in London, Bloomberg

Naomi Climer
President, Institution of Engineering and Technology

Trudy Norris-Grey
Chair, WISE Campaign

Catherine Mayer
Co-founder, Women’s Equality Party