Studies show that women leave academic research in larger numbers than men, and are poorly represented at higher academic levels. Initiatives like Athena SWAN has been set up to address the problem, but if you're a female researcher there are other sources of support out there for you too. One example is STEM Women.
The Institute of Physics has recently published a report with the Royal Astronomical Society, Gazing at the Future. Kate Murray, Careers Consultant to the Graduate School, King’s College London attended the launch and is sharing what she learnt with us on Reach:
The report looks at the experiences of male and female physics and astronomy researchers during their PhDs and their expectations of whether or not they will enter academia after the PhD.
The stats in the report make pretty depressing reading: female doctoral students rate the overall experience of their doctorate lower than their male peers; and the proportion of female doctoral students happy with their doctorate is on average 7% lower than for male doctoral students. Only just over 55% of female doctoral students across all years of study agree that they would make good research scientists (70% of male students overall would agree).
Particularly stark was the finding that 48% of female students, in their final year, envisage that they might have a university role in 3-5 years' time, compared with 65% of male students.
The report suggests reasons behind these stats, including the issue of a lack of role models (thus reinforcing unconscious bias amongst recruiters and setting an unconscious bar on ambition on the part of candidates).
It doesn't seem to me, though, that physics and astronomy are particularly alone in these findings. While efforts such as Athena SWAN and the Equality Charter Mark, as well as initiatives by individual universities such as the fantastic photos of female professors in the Strand building, all help to promote academia as a welcoming place for women, the conversations I have with female researchers across all subjects point to structural issues around the competition for grants and working culture that are off-putting. In fairness, they are often off-putting to men looking for work/life balance too.
What to do? Find resilience, set examples, seek good advice, take opportunities. Find a mentor, find a 'supporter' (someone who actively looks for opportunities for you), and don't be pigeon-holed. Think about protecting your self-esteem and promoting your self-confidence. And retain a love for research.
City Disabilities is a charity set up to provide support and advice for students and professionals with disabilities, as well as employers. We caught up with their Trust Officer Liz Dawes to find out more about the Charity and get her advice for students.
As businesses compete for talent, expand into new markets and accelerate innovation, diversity and inclusiveness is a source of competitive advantage.
Here is a good news story, it shows that positive change is possible and it needn't even take that long. Technology has long been a male dominated environment, but they have also been an industry that has been one of the most proactive in taking action to remedy the dire previous gender split, and are now reaping the benefits. It is also worth celebrating, as this progressive industry is also a fast growing sector which means the changes are here to stay and likely to benefit a wider number of people as time goes on
Did you know International Women's Day was yesterday? Well there were a number of interesting and engaging events taking place, highlighting serious issues affecting women across the world.
Our last post focussed on the lack of diversity seen during awards season, and this is really a follow on from that, looking at current media and the small screen and whether the shows we are presented with represent the diverse societies in which we live.
Here's a summary of the news, blog posts and careers information we’ve come across in the last month that we thought may be of interest to you.
- Disabled Students: Your Guide to Navigating and Accessing Higher Education
- Riding the freelance roller coaster Making a living as a creative freelancer with a severe disability.
- Journey of a Transgender Professional: Her Perspective
- Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna act on City ethnicity
- Facing the taboo of race discrimination in higher education
- Why we urgently need Islamic student loans
- Generation Y women have best skills to break glass ceiling
- 5 things you need to know about being a woman in STEM
- Social mobility and the City: will you get a fair chance with graduate recruiters?
Find more news and events on the Reach website.