The grassroots public outreach programme Soapbox Science is coming to Edinburgh this summer. This free public event, which takes place on the Mound from noon to 3pm on on July 24th 2016, is one of several throughout the UK designed to promote the visibility of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
On Monday 15th June I set off with my colleague Dr Clare Taylor for a day trip to London to participate at the Athena SWAN awards ceremony for all who made successful Athena SWAN award submissions in November 2014. It was a long day: I was up before 4:00am to be sure to catch the tram to the airport in time for the 07:20am flight to London City Airport.
Athena SWAN is the Equality Challenge Unit’s charter for women in science. The charter recognises the commitment of universities to the advancement of women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). As part of its work the Equality Challenge Unit grants bronze, silver and gold awards to organisations that can demonstrate increasing levels of good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM in higher education.
Clare, Pam, and Susan on stage in the yurt (photo credit Jo Young)
Last Thursday Edinburgh Napier University microbiologist Dr Clare Taylor and her co-presenter Dr Pam Cameron (NovoScience) welcomed a sell-out audience to the yurt in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square at their Fringe show Women! Science is not for you! Over the course of an hour they highlighted evidence to show how the gender balance in science careers shifts in the favour of men the further you look up the career ladder. They discussed the reasons for this, considered whether or not this is a problem, and debated possible strategies to bring about change. A key question is how to stem the flow of wasted talent that escapes from the “leaky pipeline” of women in science, as identified in the Royal Society of Edinburgh’sTapping all our talents report of 2012.
The Edinburgh festivals are now well underway in Scotland’s capital city. I love this time of year, and try to fit in as many shows as possible around my work commitments. One week into the Fringe I have already seen ten shows, and I have plenty of tickets for several more between now and 25th August. I am particularly looking forward to two performances, both of which are highly relevant to my work at Edinburgh Napier University.