Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the diversity of all staff in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and aims to address gender, race and sexual orientation inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of certain groups in senior roles.

Friday, 31 October 2014

In the news

Astronomer wins Women of Future award - UoP News, 29 October 2014

A University of Portsmouth astronomer has won the Women of the Future Science award on the same day she took part in the BBC’s 100 Women – a day of debate, discussion and live broadcasting at BBC’s Broadcasting House from inspiring women around the world.
Dr Karen Masters, a senior lecturer from the University’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, was among obstetricians, lawyers, designers and entrepreneurs at the Women of the Future awards ceremony in London last night, which recognises the country’s most inspirational women.

Read more here.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Science: It's a girl thing!

The EU Commission is promoting women in science through it's 'Science: It's a Girl Thing!' website, YouTube channel and newsletter. Perhaps the 'discover your inner researcher' quiz will open new ideas for research collaborations?

Interesting read

ScienceGrrl is 'a broad-based, grassroots organisation celebrating and supporting women in science; a network of people who are passionate about passing on our love of science on to the next generation.'
They have put together a report on STEM skill shortages and the lack of female representation in these fields called 'Through Both Eyes: the case for a Gender lens in STEM,' with particular emphasis on the unconscious biases we all have (as discussed at the university's Athena SWAN conference in March).

In the news

Women in Marine Science Seize the Day - Society for Women in Marine Science, 8 October 2014

By: Genevieve Wanucha

The inaugural workshop of the Society for Women in Marine Science (SWMS) took place at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on September 26, 2014. A diverse mix of over ninety women in science filled the seats, ranging from new graduate students eager to build a community to post docs who are some of the only women on their floors at work, and from university deans who make hiring decisions to assistant professors at varying stages of career and family development.

Read more here.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

In the news

Caption competition: CERN seeks help with photo archive - BBC News, 28 October 2014

Scientists at the European nuclear research centre CERN have uncovered an archive of images from its first 50 years - and are asking for help in deciphering what is going on in them.
Archivists are digitising more than 250,000 hard-copy images, dating from 1955 to 2005.
They are being processed in batches, with the first focusing on around 120,000 taken between 1955 and 1985.
CERN said that some descriptions exist but are incomplete.

Read more here.

In the news

Where do postdocs go? - Science Careers, 28 October 2014
By: Beryl Lieff Benderly

Postdoc appointments purportedly prepare new Ph.D. recipients to become tenure-track faculty members. But, according to a study by the graduate division of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), released on 23 September, only about a third of the postdocs who left the institution between 2000 and 2013 actually accomplished that goal. Based on information supplied to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding 28 T32 training programs covering 303 faculty-run labs, the study included more than 1700 former postdocs, or about 40% of those departing UCSF during the covered years.

Read more here.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Results of women's focus group

A fruitful and energetic discussion took place in the Hub last Wednesday, with nine female members of staff representing most research groups and job titles. Out of the many topics raised, certain themes appeared time and again, which are summarised here. Although some issues are ultimately applicable across the university, most can/will be moderated by small changes at the departmental level.

  • University-wide: 
    1. PARKING!! Car parks fill up long before school starts, leading to complicated arrangements over school run duties, renting parking spots from local residents and harried staff before the day even starts.  
    2. The University Nursery is only open to staff if there is spare capacity, yet staff are more likely to have caring responsibilities (and main carers are generally female).
    3. Better and clearer information about maternity benefits, post-maternity policies (i.e. part-time working) and general support for female staff offered by the university, especially for non-permanent staff (postdocs/research staff). Make these details visible outside of the university intranet, and include in application information packets to demonstrate this commitment to potential new staff. [Note added after the meeting – the University’s Women’s Staff Forum has launched a Moodle site which is starting to gather these details.]

  • Departmental: 
  1. Communication and dissemination of information particularly relevant to women is poor 
  2. Activities, meetings and seminars held out of working hours restrict access to information and research news to parents/carers (especially those currently on leave) 
  3. Work to increase the number of women applying to, accepting and being promoted through positions in SEES 
  4. There can be a “blokes” culture in the department that sometimes excludes, offends or discriminates against females 
  5. More support for those on short-term contracts (mostly women at present)
  6. Gender balance on field trips and division of responsibilities could be improved

We look forward to discussing these, and any other topics staff wish to raise, at the next focus group on Wednesday the 12th November.

Women In Physics Share Their Stories

A video produced by the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers about women’s stories in physics.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

SEES Women's Staff Forum - Tuesday, 1.30-2.30, the Hub

Dear all,
With 4 respondents to the poll, it looks like the best (only?) slot is Tuesday, 1.30-2.30, which everyone can make for at least half an hour. In which case, I shall see as many of you as possible in the Hub on Tuesday afternoon! (If this slot really isn't convenient, I have left the poll open for any further responses, and we'll try a different time the following week.)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

University's Women's Staff Forum Moodle site

There is a brief description of the university's Women's Staff Forum on the main university site (here), but you can also register for the Moodle site through a Google form here. Although still a work in progress, it contains everything from childcare policies to discussion boards to useful web links (some information is hosted on the intranet, and will require the off-site proxy to access when not on campus).

University's Athena SWAN application

For those who would like to read the University's successful Bronze Award application and action plan, the PDF files can be found here.

SEES Women's Staff Forum

Dear all,
It was great to see everyone who could make it to the women's focus group this afternoon. For those who couldn't, a summary will be made available soon. In the meantime, there was overwhelming agreement that we should start a weekly women's staff forum to keep in touch with each other, have a coffee and discuss science. Now we need to find a good time to meet - for which purpose you can find a Doodle poll here:

Since you have to specify dates and times, I've blocked out all of next week from 9-5 in one-hour chunks. Please indicate the most likely times you would be available - hopefully we won't have to dance around the timetable too much from week to week!


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

October Athena Swan committee meeting

Dear all,

The Athena Swan committee members of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth will meet again on Monday, the 27th of Oct. Any staff member interested in participating, please feel free to attend. The meeting details and agenda are:   

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Portsmouth
  Athena Swan Committee Meeting

Monday, 27th Oct. 2014, 12.00 - 13.00 am, Location: BB1.26

 1. Apologies

2. Welcome to new members

3. Review of the SEES Athena Swan Bronze award draft application 

4. Review of the Women's focus group meeting

5.  AOB

6. Date and venue of next committee meeting

Monday, 20 October 2014

Reminder - Women's focus group is this Wednesday!

A quick reminder that the women's focus group is this Wednesday, 2pm in the Hub. A meeting open to everyone will be held on the 12th November.
Look forward to seeing you all there,
Penny, Carmen and Jim (focus group co-ordinators)

Friday, 3 October 2014

University awarded Athena SWAN Bronze Award

The University has been awarded an Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in recognition of its commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The national awards encourage and celebrate good employment practices for women working in STEM in higher education and research. They are awarded by the Equality Challenge Unit.

Read more here.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Women's focus group - Hub, 22nd October, 2-3pm

The Athena SWAN charter, of which the university is a member, is designed to combat the under-representation and advance the careers of women in STEMM research and academia, as well as improve the working environment for all staff. Following on from the achievement of the university's Bronze Award, SEES is now preparing its own Bronze Award application.

As part of this process, we will be holding two focus groups to gather feedback on current conditions, ongoing concerns and suggestions for future progress. The first of these will be held in the Hub from 2-3pm on the 22nd October.

All female members of the department - PhD students, technical, office, research and academic staff - are invited to join this discussion and voice their opinions in an informal setting. Even if you can't stay the whole time, please drop in when you can and be heard!

Everyone will be welcome at the second meeting on the 12th November (BB4.05, 1-2pm) - so save the date!