At Radleys, we are incredibly passionate about gender equality and ensuring women are well represented in science.
The UK is facing a skills shortage in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and one way to address this is to encourage more women to pursue careers in this area. The core stem workforce remains predominantly male with women filling just 21% of the roles, according to statistics from 2016.
So, to mark International Women’s Day, we thought we’d put together a round-up of some of the organisations championing women in science.
UNESCO and the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation
The UNESCO and the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation runs a women in science programme which supports and recognises women who have contributed to overcoming today’s global challenges. The programme’s commitments include encouraging girls to explore scientific career paths.
Each year, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards is given to five female scientists - one from each continent. The winners of last year’s L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women In Science Fellowships included Dr Tanya Hutter, a chemist developing a sensor to measure changes in the brains of acute head injury patients.
They also support rising talent internationally, through a grant awarded each year to 16 PhD students and post-doctoral fellows.
Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World
For women in developing countries, pursuing a science career can be particularly difficult because of the cultural pressures and lack of resources.
Each year, the Elsevier Foundation awards prizes to five women from 81 developing countries, rotating which discipline they recognise each time. Last year, the five biologists who were recognised each spoke at the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University.
Dr. Magaly Blas from Peru talked of the unique contribution women can make to science. She said: “As women, we have different points of view of life, different ways of solving problems than men, and we experience such different things than men – like pregnancy and breastfeeding, like raising a child – that not only change your life but also influence the research you are doing and the populations you are trying to reach and the lives you are trying to improve. So I think that’s the advantage of also having women in science: we have a different approach.”
Athena SWAN Charter
The Athena SWAN Charter encourages and recognises commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEM employment in higher education and research.
By joining the charter, institutions commit to adopting a number of principles including addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline, removing obstacles faced by women and tackling the gender pay gap.
The benefits of joining the charter include identifying areas for positive action, recognising and sharing good practice and increasing the retention of valued staff and academics.
Details on eligibility and how to join can be found on their website, along with information on their award.
The WISE Campaign
The WISE Campaign for gender balance in science, technology and engineering strives to inspire women to study and pursue careers in STEM. They give organisations advice and support to help women thrive in STEM roles.
They offer a number of resources, training and consultancy and run events throughout the country. Membership is open to educational institutions at all levels, as well as individuals, who can join for free.
Nominations for the WISE Awards 2017 are currently open and feature a number of categories, including the WISE Toy Award for the best toy or game to get girls excited about STEM.
Last year’s winners include 20 year old HMRC apprentice Amy Hart, who wasn’t keen on STEM subjects at school but has gone on to develop software that is being used by 500,000 customers.
The Association for Women in Science
The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is a US based organisation which champions the interests of women in STEM to help them fulfil their full potential. Their work includes research and analysis and providing policy solutions to broaden participation in all disciplines and employment sectors.
Individuals can join the organisation, while corporations and academic institutions can partner with them. Joining the organisation offers a number of benefits including tools to develop leadership skills and support talent. These include webinars, face-to-face workshops and mentoring.
Other organisations supporting women
This is by no means an exhaustive list of organisations and initiatives supporting women in science. There are several others such as:
● The Scientista Foundation which connects female scientists at universities in the US.
● Science Grrl - a grass roots movement whose work includes creating local informal networks to offer peer support.
● The Returners to Bioscience Group run by the Royal Society of Biology to help overcome the barriers associated with returning to work after a career break.
● The Women Members Network of the Royal Society of Chemistry which aims to improve the status of women in chemistry.
If you have any other organisation you’d like to mention, do let us know by tweeting us @Radleys