‘Women making strides in science, but have long way to go’
Women have made great strides towards achieving equality in science, but there’s a still a long way to go - according to a leading University of Manchester scientist.
Dr Hema Radhakrishnan, one of the nation’s top eye researchers, this week launches a day of events at the University to encourage women to advance in their field.
Called ‘Becoming the best’, women from across science will speak to a an audience of female academics and students on International Women’s Day (March 8)
The event is organised by Dr Radhakrishnan, Deputy Associate Dean for Social Responsibility and Professor Amanda Bamford, Associate Dean for Social Responsibility – both at the Faculty of Life Sciences.
The move builds on the prestigious Athena Swan Silver Award given in October 2015, which recognised the Faculty’s commitment to tackle gender inequality in higher education.
The Equality Challenge Unit gave the award to just 87 departments in the whole of the UK.
The Athena SWAN charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science.
Dr Radhakrishnan said: “Even though we are a long way forward from even 10 years ago, women are still more likely progress in their careers at a rate that is slower than their male counterparts.
“Men and women do things differently and offer different perspectives; it doesn’t make sense to lose the talents of half the population.”
She added: “Women often drop out of science in the period between getting their PhD and finding an academic position and it’s family life which can act as a barrier.
“Sometimes, though it’s simply a question of women not putting themselves forwards for promotion.
“So to break that barrier, we have implemented flexible working, coaching and mentoring schemes – as well as establishing a Women in Life Sciences Group.
“And this programme is part of that ethos.”
Even though we are a long way forward from even 10 years ago, women are still more likely progress in their careers at a rate that is slower than their male counterparts. Men and women do things differently and offer different perspectives; it doesn’t make sense to lose the talents of half the population
Professor Bamford, said:" We strive to develop a culture of fairness, opportunity, flexibility, and respect and want to be a beacon in gender equality.
“So there is no pausing in our efforts especially as we are now working towards our Athena Swan Gold award”
Patrick Johnson Head of Equality and Diversity at the University, said: “Advancing the careers of academic women is one of our key objectives and the work been done in the Faculty of Life Sciences and across the University in relation to Athena SWAN is helping to make a real difference. By working at a local level to consider the issues and develop robust actions, we are seeing a positive change in the organisational culture and the progression of women.”
Among the speakers will be digital entrepreneur and founder of inclusion think tank Diversity UK Mrs. Lopa Patel MBE. She was awarded the University of Manchester Outstanding Alumna Award and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2015.
Dr Heather Williams, Director of ScienceGrrl which celebrates and supporting women in science is also taking part. She is a Senior Medical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine at Central Manchester University Hospitals and honorary Lecturer at The University of Manchester University.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Women in Science Conference 2016, Becoming the Best, Tuesday 8 March 2016, from 10.30 am - 3.00pm at the Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester.