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.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Career development - WISE Young Women's Board

This is an exciting opportunity for young women working in STEM to make a valuable contribution to the success of the WISE campaign and to raise their personal profile within the industry. 

To qualify to apply you must:
  • be a WISE member - if you are NOT currently a WISE member please complete the individual membership form first (FREE).
  • be 30 years old or under on 31 December 2015
  • be a confident communicator who is passionate about women in the STEM sector
  • have time to commit to WISE campaign activities and contribute with enthusiasm and energy 
  • hold technical qualifications or equivalent experience and work in a technical position or be a STEM student or apprentice
Read more here.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Career development - Workshop on 'Development of disaster resilient coastal communities'

Workshop title: Development of disaster resilient coastal communities to enhance economic development and social welfare
UK coordinator: Professor Richard Haigh (University of Huddersfield, UK)
Indonesia coordinator: Dr Harkunti Rahayu (Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia)
Disciplines: Environmental and Climate Sciences, Oceanography, Built environment, Urban planning
Dates and venue: 28th October – 1st November 2015, campus of Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia)
Deadline: 13th July 2015

Under the Researcher Links scheme offered within the Newton Fund, the British Council and Researcher Links scheme will be holding a workshop on the above theme in Bandung, Indonesia from 28th October to 1st November 2015.
We are now inviting Early Career Researchers from the UK or Indonesia to apply to attend this workshop. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the Newton Researcher Links programme. 

The British Council will cover the costs related to the participation to the workshop, including: travel (both international and local), accommodation and meals. Costs for the visa will be covered; however participants will be responsible for making all the necessary arrangements. Although this cost will not be covered by the British Council, participants are encouraged to purchase an adequate travel and medical insurance. The British Council accepts no responsibility for any problems which may occur when the participants are in-country.

More details and application here.

Prize news - John Maddox 'Standing up for Science; Prize 2015

John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science
Do you know someone who has promoted sound science and evidence? Who of your colleagues has addressed misleading information in a public forum? Is there someone in your networks who has brought sound evidence to a public debate? Nominate them for the 2015 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science.

The John Maddox Prize, which we run in conjunction with Nature and the Kohn Foundation, rewards an individual who has promoted sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest. Its emphasis is on those who have faced difficulty or hostility in doing so. Nominations of active researchers who have yet to receive recognition for their public-interest work are particularly welcomed.

The winner of the John Maddox Prize will receive £2000, and an announcement of the winner will be published in Nature. The award is presented at a reception in November. 

Full details and online nomination form are at

In the news - Why Women Apologize and Should Stop

For so many women, myself included, apologies are inexorably linked with our conception of politeness. Somehow, as we grew into adults, “sorry” became an entry point to basic affirmative sentences.
True, this affliction is not exclusive to our gender. It can be found among men — in particular, British men — but it is far more stereotypical of women. So, in the words of a popular 2014 Pantene ad, why are women always apologizing?
One commonly posited theory, which informs everything from shampoo commercials to doctoral dissertations, is that being perceived as rude is so abhorrent to women that we need to make ourselves less obtrusive before we speak up. According to a 2010 study in the journal Psychological Science, “women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior,” so are more likely to see a need for an apology in everyday situations. We are even apt to shoehorn apologies into instances where being direct is vital — such as when demanding a raise.

Sloane Crosley, NY Times Op-Ed

Read more here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Very Early Career Woman Physicist Prize

The Women in Physics Group invites applications from women at the start of their careers in physics who have made a substantial contribution to the subject and have undertaken activities to support and encourage others in the field. The prize is sponsored by Shell and is awarded annually to a woman who is within five years of the award of her first degree in physics (Bachelor’s or Master’s), allowing for career breaks, and is either working as a physicist or is engaged in postgraduate study in physics.

Shortlisted applicants will give a presentation of their work at a major Institute of Physics’ Women in Physics event on 5 November 2015. The winner will be presented with £1,000 donated by Shell and an award certificate at this event. As well as providing recognition of the winner's work, the award will also provide valuable networking opportunities. Applicants must therefore be resident in the UK or Ireland at the time of applying for the award.

The Very Early Career Woman Physicist of the Year Award seeks to recognise the outstanding work of women embarking on a career in physics and to promote the career opportunities open to people with physics qualifications.

For more details on how to apply and to download an application form please visit the website:

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Athena SWAN SEES committee welcomes new member

We are pleased to announce that Dr Sarah Reynolds has joined the Athena SWAN SEES committee as a full member since June 2015. Sarah will replace Dr Stephanie Sargeant that has left our School to take up a new Lectureship at the University of the West of England in Bristol. We wish Stephanie all the best in her new job and a warm welcome to Sarah.
Sarah's profile: 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Athena Swan June 2015 Committee Meeting

Dear all,

The next meeting of the Athena Swan committee members of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth will take place on Monday, the 22nd of June 2015. We welcome any staff member interested in participating. The meeting details and agenda are:   

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

Monday, 22nd of June 2015, 10.00 - 11.00 am, Location:  BB 4.11

 1. Apologies

2. Update on the SEES Athena Swan Bronze award application

3. Call for committee membership

4. Discuss the Actions Plan

5. Concluding remarks and agree a date for the next meeting  

Monday, 15 June 2015

Career opportunity - British Council Peer Review panel

The British Council would like to invite expressions of interest from senior and early career researchers to expand our pool of panel members for the Newton Fund initiative and potentially other British Council programmes. 
We are looking for early career researchers who would like to broaden their experience of peer review as a career development opportunity, and for senior researchers who are willing to share and use their experience to support the review panels. Please note that we can only consider researchers based at UK institutions.


Senior and early-career researchers. Early-career researcher is defined as being a PhD holder + up to 10 years. For fields where a PhD is not a usual career requirement, sufficient research experience will be accepted. 

Researchers with the following specialisms are eligible to apply:
-Biological and Medical Sciences
-Environment and Agriculture
-Arts and Humanities 
-Social Sciences
-Engineering and Physical Sciences 

In particular, we would like to hear from researchers who have the following subject specialisms:
-Human rights
-Forensic anthropology
-Marine biology/Oceanography 
-Public health/Nutrition
-Food science
-Earth Sciences

Read more here.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

In the news - Viewpoint: Women must fight sexism in science

ScienceGrrl's Dr Anna Zecharia provides a thorough and balanced response to the ongoing Tim Hunt situation in today's BBC News Viewpoint. In it, she emphasises that while the immediate display of disgust from many quarters shows such views are no longer widely acceptable, there is a risk of losing the momentum in the longer term. Until people understand the true nature and scale of the problem, and it becomes acceptable to discuss and challenge these problems at all levels, the UK will not get past the ~20% female participation levels in and outside science.

So should we just ignore an old-fashioned old man? My answer is a resounding "No". We don't need to demonise Sir Tim Hunt but if we shrug off his views as a generational quirk we are not looking closely enough and we fail to acknowledge how deeply these attitudes are embedded in our workplaces and how they are still holding women back.
Yes, when he was born women had barely won the right to vote and, yes, thankfully a lot has changed since then. But we are still grappling with a world where gender roles are blurring and these are important conversations.
Only 13% of jobs in the science and engineering sector are held by women. This is either because they are not "getting in" - as is the case with subjects like physics or careers in engineering.
Or it's because they are not "getting on". Even in areas like the life sciences, where entry and early career stages see roughly equal numbers of men and women, the so-called leaky pipeline kicks in. On average, roughly 17% of professors in the sciences are female.
By not speaking up we risk slowing progress further. Children as young as seven (and possibly younger) hold ideas about which careers are for men and which are for women.

Read more here.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

In the news - Nobel scientist Tim Hunt: female scientists cause trouble for men in labs

Scientists should work in gender-segregated labs, according to a Nobel laureate, who said the trouble with “girls” is that they cause men to fall in love with them and cry when criticised.
Tim Hunt, an English biochemist who admitted that he has a reputation for being a “chauvinist”, said to the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.”

Read more here

The Nobel laureate Tim Hunt has apologised for comments he made about female scientists.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Hunt apologised for any offence, saying he meant the remarks to be humorous – but added he “did mean the part about having trouble with girls”.
He said: “It is true … I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it’s very disruptive to the science because it’s terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.”
The comments have also been roundly criticised by female scientists on Twitter. One woman, a postdoctoral researcher, tweeted: “For every Tim Hunt remark, there’s an extra woman in science that takes an interest in feminism. Ever wonder why there are so many of us?”

Read more here.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Event - Women's Liberation in Portsmouth 1968-1990: A Witness Seminar

Saturday 27th June, 10am – 3.45pm
John Pounds Centre: 23 Queen Street, Portsmouth PO1 3HN 
The Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) played a key role in bringing about major social change in late twentieth century Britain. This event will celebrate women’s liberation in Portsmouth and promote intergenerational dialogue between women’s liberation feminists of the 1970s and 1980s and younger feminists. This ‘memory day’ will consist of informal workshops led by witnesses who will tell their stories. Panels will cover topics such as establishing women’s liberation as a presence in Portsmouth, local campaigns on women’s aid, abortion rights, economic struggles and more. Participants are also encouraged to bring along badges, posters, clothing and any other objects associated with their involvement in the WLM.
All welcome.
This is a CEISR event supported by University of Portsmouth Women’s Staff Network.
Register here. More details here.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Over on Twitter - reasons women struggle to advance in science

Two posts this morning on Twitter looking at different aspects of the advancement of women in science. The first is taken from a new survey of women's experiences in science, with the top 5 biases the participants encountered (@DrFBE):

All the women in the room nodding their heads in recognition?

The other considers the range of reasons given for not asking women to sit on conference panels, portrayed as a bingo card to represent the experience of not knowing which excuse will be given this time (@dawnbazely):

Any men out there hear themselves in these remarks? Or even women?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

In the news - Better advice for ‘Bothered’

Avid readers of the blog or those active on Twitter will remember the Ask Alice advice column last week which suggested unwanted sexual attention from superiors should be ignored unless it 'moves on to other advances.' This column was promptly taken down again after complaints on all social media platforms (part of the column is in our blog post here). Since then, an official apology was issued, followed today by a summary of advice readers have provided to deal with the issue. While the Ask Alice advice clearly wasn't the wisest option, these situations can be highly nuanced and need to be handled carefully to avoid making a bad situation worse, particularly when there is a power imbalance. Hopefully those finding themselves in these situations can use this new advice to find a way out, while the discussion started by Science Careers will continue until real change is observed in workplaces that still tolerate such behaviour.

The deleted Ask Alice post offering advice to “Bothered,” a female postdoc whose male adviser “won’t stop looking down my shirt,” brought a torrent of critical responses. Many critiqued the original advice: “As long as your adviser does not move on to other advances, I suggest you put up with it, with good humor if you can.” Most criticized Science Careers for posting it. And some filled the gap they felt the original post left by offering their own advice to women scientists coping with unwanted attention from a man in a position of power.
In Forbes, philosopher Janet Stemwedel diagnoses a problem with the original advice, which said that the adviser’s behavior didn’t appear to meet the legal definition of sexual harassment: “It matters not a whit whether the behavior rises to the level of unlawful sexual harassment. It undermines professional interactions.” She argues that telling a woman to tolerate the behavior “leaves her stuck in a professional relationship where it may never be possible to engage the adviser’s scientific interest without concerns about engaging his carnal interest.”
Even so, Stemwedel and others agree that confronting such behavior can be risky, given the power structures of science. A first step is to draw the man’s attention to what he is doing and to the fact that it is unwelcome. Astronomer Christina Richey suggests addressing the issue “politely but boldly.” On the Women in Astronomy blog, she writes, “A simple ‘Hey, I’m up here,’ or ‘I’m sure you don’t mean to or didn’t even notice this was occurring (giving them the out for their behavior), but please stop staring at my chest while we talk,’ may be enough to stop the behavior altogether.”

Read more here.

Monday, 1 June 2015

In the blogosphere - 10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

"Stop interrupting me." 
"I just said that."
"No explanation needed."
In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a "young lady" and a "boy being a boy." Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse and resist interrupting in ways we do not expect boys to. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.
I routinely find myself in mixed-gender environments (life) where men interrupt me. Now that I've decided to try and keep track, just out of curiosity, it's quite amazing how often it happens. It's particularly pronounced when other men are around.

Read more here.

In the news - Help! My adviser won’t stop looking down my shirt!

Science Careers has a brilliant blog called Ask Alice, where early career researchers (broadly defined) can write for impartial advice on how to deal with the stresses, challenges and joys of academic life. This week's entry enters the grey area of behaviour that upsets some, but may not be obvious to others - what to do if your supervisor is more interested in your chest than your work? Alice's answer this time may not please everyone. What do you think?

Dear Alice,
Q: I’ve just joined a new lab for my second postdoc. It’s a good lab. I’m happy with my project. I think it could really lead to some good results. My adviser is a good scientist, and he seems like a nice guy. Here’s the problem: Whenever we meet in his office, I catch him trying to look down my shirt. Not that this matters, but he’s married. 
What should I do? 

Dear Bothered,
A: Imagine what life would be like if there were no individuals of the opposite—or preferred—sex. It would be pretty dull, eh? Well, like it or not, the workplace is a part of life.
It’s true that, in principle, we’re all supposed to be asexual while working. But the kind of behavior you mention is common in the workplace. Once, a friend told me that he was so distracted by an attractive visiting professor that he could not concentrate on a word of her seminar. Your adviser may not even be aware of what he is doing.

Read more here

Update 17:12 - Blog entry was taken down by Science Careers, amid torrent of negative comments on Twitter. The Editor published the following instead:

The Ask Alice article, “Help! My adviser won’t stop looking down my shirt,” on this website has been removed by Science because it did not meet our editorial standards, was inconsistent with our extensive institutional efforts to promote the role of women in science, and had not been reviewed by experts knowledgeable about laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. We regret that the article had not undergone proper editorial review prior to posting. Women in science, or any other field, should never be expected to tolerate unwanted sexual attention in the workplace.

Event - Researchers' Network Speed Networking 11 June 12-1.30

Are you a researcher between post-doc and Senior Lecturer? Have you heard about the Researchers' Network, designed to promote and support research activities for earlier-career staff? Our first event will be Thursday week, with a speed networking event to meet other researchers within the university, particularly those outside the 'obvious' collaborative boundaries. Lunch provided! Please see the attached advert and book your tickets here:

About this event:

This meeting will begin with a quick update on the Network and information and resources that are available for Researchers in the University. This update will be followed by 'Researcher Speed Networking'. The aim of speed Networking is to encourage researchers from different groups, departments and even faculties to talk to each other for a short period of time to learn about each other's research and to identify any collaboration potential. Cross Faculty collaborative bids offer a good way to secure internal funding and are often a good starting point for seeking external funding support. Best of all, you will meet new people, hopefully make new friends and discover more about the sheer breadth and depth of research at the University of Portsmouth.
This is event is being hosted by Dr Penny Lancaster (Science - School of Earth and Environmental Science) and Dr Ed Smart (CCi - Centre for Intelligent Data Solutions) - just two of our 14 Researchers' Network Champions.

About the Researchers' Network:
The Researchers’ Network is a University-wide platform to allow people in the University to meet and keep up-to-date with other researchers and issues that affect them. The main focus of the Network is on those that are working to build and progress their research careers. This is likely to include post-docs, research staff, fellows, early career researchers, as well as those conducting research within academic roles such as lecturers and senior lecturers. The Network complements of Readers' Forum and Professors' Forum. Join our Google+ page to keep in touch.
N.B: This link will only work if you are signed into your Google account and have activated your Google+ profile. It is easy and quick to sign up for Google+ and taking this step will help everyone keep in touch.