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, 22 November 2016

IOP - International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP)

The International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP) will take place on 16-20 July 2017 at the University of Birmingham, UK. 

On behalf of the Midlands Physics Alliance and the Institute of Physics, we would like to invite you to participate in the sixth IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP 2017) to be held at the University of Birmingham in July 2017. This is the first time the conference has been held in the UK, and will include an outstanding programme for women in physics attracting a truly international participation. The aim of the conference is to agree a set of resolutions, which will be presented at the IUPAP General Assembly. Recommendations from the conference will be sent to physics institutions and professional bodies world-wide. To find out more about the conference, visit the conference website.
Teams from all over the world will be attending as representatives of their country. The UK will be sending a substantial team, led by Dr Barbara Gabrys (Oxford) and Dr Jess Wade (Imperial College). To accommodate an international delegation, there are a limited number of places available to be part of the UK team.
Applications to be part of our team are now being invited from all those involved in physics in the UK with an interest in the issues of women in physics: physics departments, schools, research institutes and companies. Being part of our team will give you a chance to share your practice and experience on an international stage, hearing from and meeting delegates from across the world. Alongside gaining ideas and recommendations for you to implement in your own working environment, you will have a chance to influence and contribute to the UK report.
Applying is easy – just send us your details (name, job, location, area of physics, etc.) and a short statement (no more than 500 words) on why you would like to attend this conference, highlighting some or all of the following:
• Your involvement in women in science activities within your school, department, university or organisation
• Your involvement with activities to promote gender diversity and/ or public engagement
• Your particular interest in this area
• You can include a CV if you wish
Please email your statement to Barbara ( or Jess ( by 15 December 2016. We will reply to all expressions of interest in the new year.
Please note, for your own budgeting purposes: the conference is likely to cost between £500-£600 (conference fee plus accommodation) plus any associated travel expenses. The conference fee allows us to invite scientists from developing nations. It will be worth the cost to share your own practise, expertise, and to hear from the international community of women in physics.
Please contact Barbara or Jess if you have any queries.

Friday, 14 October 2016

New chairman of SEES Athena SWAN committee

It is our pleasure to announce that Dr David Franklin is our new chairman of the SEES Athena SWAN committee. Together with the Athena SWAN committee, members of the school and Prof. Strachan, David will coordinate the application process of our Athena SWAN departmental application. Work is currently on-going on new data collection and preparation of the final application.     

Friday, 5 August 2016

Our Athena SWAN Bronze Award

It is regrettable to inform you that our Departmental Bronze Award application was unsuccessful.
We are making renewed efforts to resubmit in November round.

I also stepped down from my role as Athena SWAN Departmental Coordinator and the HoD, Prof. Rob Strachan, will coordinate all our Athena SWAN activities including the November re-submission. I will, however, continue to serve as a member of the SEES Athena SWAN Committee and I will continue to run our Athena SWAN blog.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Athena SWAN Conference, 27 April 2016 - University of Portsmouth

The Athena SWAN Conference 2016 is rapidly approaching. This year it is 'Athena SWAN for all' and will focus on our successes, how a Gold Award department functions and discuss the way forward for Athena SWAN and what the enhanced process means for those academics and researchers working in non-STEM areas along with the inclusion of Professional and Support staff.
I would encourage as many as possible to attend.
Details of the event are included at the link:

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, so from our Athena Swan team a Happy Women's Day to all our SEES female staff and beyond.

To celebrate this, Dr Edith Rogers has prepared a nice cake. Please help yourself with a piece of cake, which is located in the staff room on the 4th floor, Burnaby Building.  
Happy women's Day!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

University of Oxford Females in STEM will host its 5th Annual Conference

The University of Oxford Females in Engineering, Science and Technology will host its 5th Annual Conference for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Women in STEM. There are still some places left to attend the conference and so we ask that you please advertise the conference among your students and encourage them to apply. 

The day will be packed full with a stimulating range of talks, interactive workshops and a panel discussion all centred on which career options are available for you as an undergraduate or a young researcher, what steps to take next and how to maximise your potential and achieve your career goals within STEM. There will also be plenty of opportunities to network and share and discuss experiences with both peers and STEM’s most prominent figures.

This event promises to be filled with exciting activities that will open your eyes to the range of roles of women in the scientific world and will present an exciting opportunity for you to be inspired, acquire vital skills, widen your network of connections and be motivated to go out and pursue your goals and careers.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Royal Society Athena Prize 2016

Nominations are now open for the Royal Society Athena Prize 2016.

The Prize is a new national award which recognises individuals and teams in the UK research community who have contributed towards the advancement of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The award aims to inspire innovation and leadership in diversity issues and joins the Society’s prestigious set of medals and awards announced each summer. The winner/s of the prize receives a medal and a gift of £5,000 and runners-up will receive a gift of £1,000.

Please do look around your institution and think of who you might nominate for the prize. Do you know someone who has set up an innovative project that is contributing to the advancement of diversity in STEM and should be recognised for their efforts? This is an opportunity to celebrate those inspirational individuals and teams who are leading the way by putting diversity at the heart of everything they do.

The closing date for nominations is 6pm Tuesday 29 March 2016. I would be grateful if you could circulate this call for nominations to your networks and contacts.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Why Sexism at the Office Makes Women Love Hillary Clinton (NY Times Op-Ed)

Even for women active in feminist causes in college, as I was a dozen years ago, that can be a rude awakening. As a young lawyer, one of the first things I noticed about department meetings at my law firm was not just the dearth of female partners, but that one of the few female partners always seemed to be in charge of ordering lunch. I listened as some of my male colleagues opined on the need to marry a woman who would stay home with the children — that wasn’t sexist, they insisted, because it wasn’t that they thought only women should stay home; it was just that somebody had to, and the years in which they planned on having children would be crucial ones for their own careers.
I saw that the older white, male partners who mentored the younger white, male associates were able to work long days and excel professionally precisely because their stay-at-home wives took care of everything else; I saw that virtually none of the female partners had a similar setup.
In jobs that followed, managers would remark that they wanted “more women” and proceed to reject qualified candidates. (Similar dynamics took place with minority candidates.) There were always reasons — not the right cultural fit, not the right experience, a phenomenon of unintentional sexism now well documented in controlled studies. I watched as men with little or irrelevant experience were hired and promoted, because they had such great ideas, or they fit in better. “We want a woman,” the conclusion seemed to be, “just not this woman.”
Watching a primary election in which an eminently qualified woman long assumed to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination faces a serious challenge from an older white guy with exciting ideas, many women my age and older hear something familiar, and personal, in the now-common refrain about Hillary Clinton: “I want a woman president, just not this woman president.”

Read the full piece here.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Stereotype Trap (CogTales blog)

That women in science and in the professional world in general are subject to gender biases with real consequences (lower pay, less career opportunities) goes without saying.
In this context, I find it important to be aware of how easy it is to be biased myself. Not in order to justify, but to better understand. I have recently made two experiences with my own and fellow female researchers’ biases, in situations where I somewhat slipped into a man’s skin.
Now, slapping on my man skin aka MetaLab poster for the BCCCD conference, I got one female researcher who looked, mumbled  “Oh, oh, this looks complicated!”, and left. There was another one who actually started talking to me but who stated, before I could even open my mouth: “I am not sure I will understand this. It looks very difficult.” Granted, this is a sample of N=2 (although Christina just told me that she got similar reactions exclusively by women on a similar poster recently), and there were many others that did not say anything like this. Nevertheless, I had never gotten any such reaction on any other project. So man skin experience #1 showed me a few examples of women having a that’s-too-complicated-for-me-bias against themselves.
Well, you might say, this man skin isn’t too convincing. But I have an even better one. It’s my first name. First names ending in ‘o’ are, across many cultures, associated with men rather than women. I think I first got painfully aware of this when the Russian family friend persistently called me “Shoa”, because he just didn’t want to deal with the fact that a little girl’s name ended with an “o”. Fast-forward, and I keep receiving an uncountable amount of mail addressed to “Mr./Herr/Dhr./M. Tsuji”, and recently this involuntary man skin, actually in combination with the MetaLab man skin, culminated in me being imagined as an “over 40-year-old single guy who watches porn movies in his free time.”

Read the full post here.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Early Career Scientist news from the European Association of Geochemistry

Early Career Science Ambassador Program: deadline coming up

The Early Career Science Ambassador Program supports scientists based in Europe, in the final stages of their PhD or within 6 years post PhD, to attend conferences outside Europe (except Goldschmidt), by covering 50% of their expenses, up to 2000 Euros. The next application deadline is 1 March.
Travel bursaries for workshop on Highly Siderophile Elements

EAG is a proud co-sponsor of the 4th International Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry Workshop taking place at the University of Durham, UK, on 11-15 July 2016, and we'd like to remind students that travel bursaries are available. Abstract and registration deadline is 4 March.
Environmental Mineralogy Group Early Career Bursary Scheme
The Environmental Mineralogy Group of the Mineralogical Society launches a £500 bursary for Early Career researchers in the disciplines of environmental, applied, and bio mineralogy to facilitate ‘seed corn’ research, develop ‘pump priming’ ideas, support career development, and commercialisation of research into industry. Read more.

University of Portsmouth celebrates International Women’s Day (Staff Essentials)

The University of Portsmouth celebrates International Women’s Day with the following talks and film screenings:

Female Philanthropy and the Inter-War World in Twentieth-Century Britain
Date: Tuesday 8 March 2016
Time: 5.15pm
Venue: Dennis Sciama, Room 2.14
Dr. Eve Colpus, Lecturer in British and European History Post 1850 at Southampton University, will speak on ‘Female Philanthropy and the Inter-War World in Twentieth-Century Britain’, organised by the Women’s and Gender Studies Research Cluster, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. No booking needed. All are welcome!

International Women’s Day Film and Talk
Date: Thursday 10 March 2016
Time: 6.30pm talk, 7.00pm screening
Venue: Eldon Screening Theatre, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
The screening of Suffragette and talk by Professor June Purvis, a world-renowned expert on the subject and who advised the filmmakers.
Admission is free, but please reserve your place on Eventbrite.

Make More Noise (UK, 1899-1917) Cert | 80 min
Date: Thursday 31 March 2016
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: Eldon Screening Theatre, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
Cinema was born as the Suffragettes campaign was gathering momentum, and so they made it there business to get in front of the camera. A fascinating compilation of 21 short films from the BFI national archive that show how these women were being portrayed on screen.

Tickets £6 from

Thursday, 18 February 2016

MSA Mineralogy/Petrology grants for students

The Mineralogical Society of America invites undergraduate and graduate student applications for a Grant for Student Research in Mineralogy and Petrology. This grant seeks to support innovative research by students. The next deadline for proposal submission is June 1, 2016.

At least two awards of up to $5,000 each are given each year. Students, including graduate and undergraduate students, are encouraged to apply. However, all proposals are considered together. The award selection will be based on the qualifications of the applicant, the quality, innovativeness, and scientific significance of the research, and the likelihood of success of the project. Applicants may not apply for both this and the MSA Grant for Research in Crystallography in the same year.

The grant is for research-related expenses only. Travel to meetings, conferences, short courses, non-research fieldtrips, tuition, non-research living (room and board) expenses, overhead or indirect costs, etc. are not suitable uses of the money. Neither should the money be used for salary or wages for the researcher. Proposals that make such requests will not be considered further. The successful applicant will also be asked in the year following grant to write a short summary of how the money was spent.

Additional information about the grants is at

Associate Professorship at Uni. Graz (women only)

To increase the share of female academic personnel among the group of associate professors at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Geodesy advertises a vacancy for 1 university assistant with doctorate, tenure track, initially limited to 6 years, with the possibility of a qualification agreement. 40 hours/week, intended to be filled by 1st of May 2016, at the Institute of Geodesy, for women.

Minimal qualification:
Doctorate degree in the field of satellite geodesy or related disciplines in earth systems research.

Desirable qualifications:
The advertised position is located at the interface between geodesy and the geosciences. The candidate should be renowned in at least one of the following fields: Interpretation of space geodetic data in earth system studies; separation of different processes from integral signals; numerical modelling of components of the dynamic system earth.

The candidate is expected to have the ability to acquire funding for and execute scientific research projects, to organize scientific events, to work in a team, and to cooperate with her colleagues. Experience in university level teaching and the supervision of scientific thesis work is desirable.

Full advert here.

From the Researcher's Network (via Nicola Haines)

If you're working on promoting your research (and yourself!) on social media here are some links to hints and tips:

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Professional appointment for SEES Senior Lecturer Michelle Bloor

Dear All,
Congratulations are due to Michelle Bloor who is the incoming President of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), UK Branch! She takes the helm from September 2016 and will stay on as Vice President until then.
Rob Strachan

SEPM Student Participation Grants

SEPM has established a new student presentation/travel grant program entitled SEPM Student Participation Grants. These grants provide travel funds for students that have abstracts accepted to SEPM 'approved' meetings and conferences.  An 'approved' meeting is one that SEPM has reviewed and endorses the topic, program and operating organization. Full details available here.
The rules for applying for an SEPM Student Participation Grant are:

1. Grants are only awarded to attend 'approved' meetings (see the list link on the webpage)
2. Applicants must be SEPM Student Members in good standing for at least 6 months prior to the application.
3. Students can only receive one grant per year
4. Deadline for an application is two months prior to the meeting
5. Applicants must have an accepted presentation abstract (poster or oral) that can be verified by the meeting organizers
6. There are limited number of grants per meeting and all grants are awarded based on merit and application date
7. Grants are limited to $300 for meetings local to the applicant and $500 for more distant meetings (determined by the review committee).

Double-edged words: The secret meaning of “feisty” (Economist)

WOMEN and men face double-standards. That this should show up in the language is no surprise. Men who put themselves forward at work are “assertive”, women who do the same are more often “pushy” or “bossy”; men are “persistent” whereas women are “nagging”; men are “frustrated”, women “upset”. A man has a lot to say; a woman is “chatty”. A man discusses the doings of his colleagues and rivals; a woman “gossips”.

Readers tempted to doubt can check for themselves. For an impressionistic survey, type “gossip” into Google, click on “images” and see who appears to be doing it; then try the same with “nagging” and “bossy”. For hard data, try Google’s “Ngram” viewer, which shows the frequency of words and phrases among the hundreds of billions of words in the books scanned by Google, spanning centuries. One of the most common words following “gossiping” is “old”. And the most common words to follow “gossiping old” are, in this order: “women”, “woman”, “men”, “lady” and “ladies”.

Read the full article here.

Big computers, big hair: the women of Bell Labs in the 1960s – in pictures (Guardian)

In 1967, Lawrence ‘Larry’ Luckham was an operations manager at Bell Labs in Oakland, California. He brought a camera into work to capture a day in the life at a company churning out some of the biggest technological advances of the decade.

See the photo exhibit here.

Watching the heavens: The female pioneers of science - BBC News

As the bombs fell on London during the Great War, two women kept a vigil of the night sky. Fiammetta Wilson and Grace Cook observed shooting stars - the chunks of space rock that light up the sky as they plummet to Earth. They kept up records of meteors in what was then very much a man's world.
In 1916, the pair were among the first four women to be awarded fellowship of The Royal Astronomical Society - a milestone in the acceptance of women in science. Although their names have largely been forgotten, the first female fellows of the society are being remembered 100 years on.
Dr Mandy Bailey is an astronomer at the Open University and a member of the Royal Astronomical Society council. She says Fiammetta Wilson and Grace Cook ensured scientific work on meteor observations continued while their male colleagues were off fighting a war. "In the years between 1910 and 1920 Wilson observed somewhere in the region of 10,000 meteors and accurately calculated the paths of about 650 of them - no small achievement!" she says.

Read the full story here.

Royal Astronomical Society early career funding

Fowler awards
The Royal Astronomical Society invites nominations for the Fowler awards. These are awarded to individuals who have made a noteworthy contribution to the astronomical and geophysical sciences at an early stage of their research career.

Candidates may be of any nationality, however significant parts of the work should have been carried out in the UK or with facilities in which the UK has a recognised interest. Applicants should have completed their PhD no more than 10 years preceding the time of application.Two prizes, worth £500 each, are available.

More details here.

Winton Capital awards
The Royal Astronomical Society invites nominations for the Winton Capital awards. These recognise researchers in astronomy and geophysics whose career has shown the most promising development.

Candidates should have completed their PhD no more than five years preceding the time of nomination.Prizes are worth £1,000 each.

More details here.

Deadlines for both 31 July.

International Association of Sedimentologists postgraduate funding

Postgraduate Grant Scheme (PGS)
The International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS) invites applications for its postgraduate grant scheme. This supports PhD students in their fieldwork, data acquisition and analysis, visits to other institutes to use specialised facilities, or participation in field excursions directly related to their PhD research subject.

Applicants must be IAS members who are PhD students. Preference will be given to applications that are not supported by substantial industry funding. Up to 10 grants of about €1,000 each are available.

Deadline: 31 March, 30 September.

Travel Grants
IAS regularly sponsors sedimentology-related meetings by awarding travel grants to participating IAS student members. These travel grants are not intended to cover all expenses (i.e. travel, housing, registration) entirely, but rather to help alleviate the overall costs students may be facing when participating to such meetings.

Subscribing IAS student members, who have an active and approved (oral or poster) presentation at the sponsored meeting can apply for such a travel grant. They should submit their application via the IAS website before the deadline (generally 2 months prior to the conference).

More details of both schemes here.

Funding support for Goldschmidt 2016 - due 26 Feb!

The conference has applied for support to cover grant funding for various categories of delegates. Once the results of these applications are known we will be able to confirm the range of grants offered. If you are a student at the time of the conference or are working in a low economy country or would otherwise have difficulty funding your attendance at the conference you may apply for a grant to support your fees and travel. Preference will be given to scientists at the start of their careers.

The conference hopes to be able to award 50 free registration to students and give free registration and small grants towards travel costs for another 20 applicants.
Funds will be allocated on the overall strength of the application.

Full details and application link here.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Goldschmidt 2016 - key items due 26 Feb.!

Abstract Deadline

There are just over two weeks to go until abstract submission for the Goldschmidt2016 conference closes on February 26th. The full list of sessions is available on the Program page of the conference website.

Early Career Program

In recent years, the Goldschmidt conference has increasingly emphasized programs aimed at scientists just starting out on their careers. The 2016 Goldschmidt will build on this trend, offering several new activities while retaining highly successful programs from previous years, as well as an expanded travel grant program. Grant applications must be completed by the abstract deadline.

Student Volunteer Team

The meeting would not be possible without the fantastic support we get from our Student Volunteer team. With a waived registration and small stipend to help with costs, volunteering can make attending the meeting possible. We are still looking for a number of team members. If you have good spoken English and would be able to spend 4-6 days of the meeting (including the Sunday) helping us run the meeting please apply here.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Students lead city’s Reclaim the Night march

University of Portsmouth students will lead a march through the city streets next month protesting against sexual violence and demanding gender equality.

The Reclaim the Night event – which is open to people of all ages, genders and cultures – has been organised by the Students’ Union women’s officer and will culminate in a march around the city to Guildhall Square.

Billed as Portsmouth’s “biggest and loudest grassroots protest against street harassment, victim-blaming and all forms of sexual violence and abuse”, the free event takes place on Tuesday, March 8.

Students’ Union women’s officer Sian Brooke, who also works as a faculty administrator at the University, said: “This is going to be a fantastic community event, open to everyone, and the perfect opportunity to stand up and say ‘no’ to street harassment and victim-blaming.

Read more here.

Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race

In 1962 John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth - but did you know it was the work of three African American women who got him there (and back)? Author Margot Lee Shetterly recently published a book documenting the contributions of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, which will soon be turned into a film staring Taraji P. Henson (of 'Empire' fame). Keep your eyes peeled for a release date!

More info here.

Survey: When grad students become parents

The American Chemical Society's magazine, Chemical and Engineering News, is looking for information on life as a student parent as it updates its last look at the issue in 2009. While their focus is on US-based experiences, all views are welcome - and check out the article when it is published!

For many young chemists, when to start a family can be a difficult decision.  Universities are increasingly instituting policies to support graduate students and postdocs who are pregnant, offering maternity and paternity leave, and guaranteeing one's job will still be there when they return. 

C&EN is updating its 2009 story on parental accommodation policies for graduate students, C&EN, Jan. 12, 2009, page 39.
Share with us how your institution rates regarding its policies towards students starting families.  Survey closes on March 1.

Find the survey here.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Over on Twitter - @EuroGeosciences

Celebrate 1st @UN Int day of #WomenInSTEM by nominating female geoscientist for EGU award!

Athena Swan Committee Meeting - Feb. 2016

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 Thursday, the 25th of Feb. 2016. We welcome any staff members 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

Thu 25th of Feb. 2016, 11.00 - 12.00, Location: SEES Office  / Meeting room

 1. Apologies 

2. Update on the SEES Athena SWAN Bronze award submission

3. Discuss and review the latest student numbers / applications 

4. Planning of focused group meetings - 2016

5. Discuss and review the Actions Plan

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

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Environmental Mineralogy Group Early Career Bursary Scheme - Min Soc UK/GB

A funding opportunity of up to £500 is available for Early Career Researchers (postdoctoral, fixed-term research fellow or fixed-term academic appointment) in the disciplines of environmental, applied, and bio mineralogy to facilitate ‘seed corn' research, develop ‘pump-priming' ideas, support career development, and commercialization of research into industry. Awards are expected to lead to publication/collaboration/research funding applications.

Applicants must hold a PhD and be working at a higher education or research institution in the UK or Republic of Ireland as a postdoctoral researcher, fixed term research fellow or hold a fixed term academic appointment. The applicant's research post must extend beyond the end date of the proposed research.

The bursary may be used for:
  • Access to, and use of, scientific instruments and services
  • Purchase of necessary scientific equipment and consumables
  • Travel and subsistence for the above and/or to facilitate collaborations, but not conference attendance
Awards will be made twice a year with individual awards limited to a maximum of £500. The closing dates for receipt of applications are 1st March and 1st September each year. Applications must be received not less than eight weeks in advance of the proposed research, and in time for one of the deadlines above.

Full details here.

How Marin Alsop's classes for young women conductors are changing the face of the profession

By Jessica Duchen, The Independent 

When Marin Alsop stepped on to the podium to conduct the Last Night of the Proms in 2013, surrounded by pink balloons, the heady applause that greeted her masked the gentle cracking of a glass ceiling. She was the first woman ever to wield the baton over the highest-profile event in the UK's musical calendar. Last summer she did it again.

Some conductors who are female are outraged if one raises “the women conductors thing”. Why are we still talking about this? Isn't it time to forget it and just get on with making music? Alsop, though, faces the issue head on – and she is perfectly happy to bring it out into the open.

“People ask why a course like this is necessary, and I think it's a disingenuous question,” she says. “It's only necessary because of the reality. It's not something I'm making up. I'm just reacting to the landscape.” There is no point, she suggests, trying to deny that there are too few women conductors, or that they face problems different from those experienced by their male colleagues – both in terms of that glass ceiling protecting prestigious posts and in how the details of their artistry are perceived.

Read the full article here.

My personal journey from harassee to guardian - `Tenure, she wrote' blog

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Rebecca Rogers Ackermann, a biological anthropologist at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Ackermann’s story accompanies this article, out today in Science.

When I was 15, my high school history teacher asked me out on a date (I declined). In first year as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, I had a graduate student tutor invite me to a party at his flat, and when I (fortunately, and to the tutor’s surprise) showed up with a friend there was no one else there. When I was near graduation the Dean ‘joked’ about how he had assumed I was just there for an “MRS degree”. In second year graduate school at University of Arizona, I went to the office hours of a professor I was taking a course from. He asked me to close the door, then aggressively propositioned me. That same year, my supervisor at that institution grabbed my ass at a conference event. I moved to Washington University in St Louis for my PhD, where I was lucky to have really great, completely professional relationships with my advisors. Then I went into the field. For the very first time I had the pleasure of handling and studying hominin fossils. When photographing a famous one, the professor responsible for access starting photographing me from behind, and commenting on the “light streaming through my golden hair.” As I quickly gathered my things to leave, he blocked the doorway and gave me a juicy ‘goodbye’ kiss. Back in St Louis, a peer of mine told me that at a bar the previous night one of the evolutionary biology professors had engaged in a conversation with the other (male) graduate students about whether they would have sex with me if my husband were watching. Just a few years ago at a conference, a senior male colleague told me out of the blue that I was “too good looking for my own good.” This is just a sampling of the things that have happened to me in my post-pubescent life that might be construed as sexually inappropriate or sexual harassment. I am certain many people in my field can make a comparable list of their own.

I have always been open with my students about what has happened to me, so that they might be more aware of these issues, and learn from them. Now I am ready to be open with everyone. So go ahead and ask me. Ask me who propositioned me, who grabbed my ass, who kissed me. Ask who grabbed my student’s breast or groped her thigh. Ask who slept with undergraduates, who accosted a colleague. Who bullied me, degraded me, or put me down. I am done keeping this under wraps. Done.

Read the full blog post here.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

International Day of Women & Girls in Science - 11th February

Last year the UN proclaimed an International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11th February each year. The IOP is encouraging schools, teachers and students to share their favourite female scientists using #WomeninSTEM and this poster

It would be great if university departments could join us in this celebration, pinning up posters on office doors and labs or simply a picture of you holding the poster. We would also hope that you can encourage undergraduate students to join in. Please forward this message to colleagues and post graduates in your physics departments, and feel free to share with other STEM subjects as well.

The following message can be shared more widely:

11 February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We're sharing our favourite female scientists using #WomeninSTEM and this poster . Pin it up in your lab - and tweet us a picture on 11 February!