While I was on holiday last week (researching the effect of tides on sandcastle structures on the Northumberland coast!) I missed Ada Lovelace Day. For those of you who may also have missed it, this is an annual event which aims to raise the profile of female scientists, engineers, and technologists. Ada Lovelace was apparently the first female programmer way back in the 1800’s. You can read about the experiences of 4 modern women in science captured by the BBC here: Women in Science
You’ll all have your own opinions on whether it is more challenging for a woman to have a successful science career – and in your context specifically a research career – but you’ll hopefully all agree that there has been a lot of resource put into addressing possible gender inequality issues. The School of Chemistry here at the University of Edinburgh recently became one of only two departments in the UK to be awarded an Athena SWAN gold award. This is given for excellence in the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in science, engineering and technology (SET). If you are interested, why not find out what your School or Institute is doing to achieve an Athena SWAN award or to support women in academia?
Many female researchers have spoken to me about the challenges they face and the importance of strong role models to inspire them. The Scottish Resource Centre for Women in SET has some good case studies with tips about the importance of mentoring and networking, and runs free events throughout the year to support women in SET. Some of our own PhD case studies also show how our own female PhD graduates are successfully developing their careers in many areas, not just science
It’s also good to know about special funding opportunities such as the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship and the Daphne Jackson Fellowship which offer the opportunity for flexible working due to caring responsibilities or health reasons (but these are obviously not open exclusively to women).
You may also be interested in an opportunity we are advertising at the moment called Google CodeF. This one day career event offers women with an interest and some skill in technology the chance to meet senior Google engineers and have the opportunity to enter their mentoring programme. Closing date for applications at ukcodef is 31st October for the event on 7th November.
But that’s enough about female scientists just now. More for all research students later!