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.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

SEES Female Focus Group meeting, August 1st 2017

Present : Emily Butcher, Annette Gotz, Michelle Hale, Catherine Mottram,  Anouska Panton,  Sue Ridout, Jessica Roberts, Carmen Solana.

1.       Introduction, welcome and celebration of the excellent news for SEES in 2017:
·         Michelle Hale becomes the first female HoD of SEES. Well done Michelle!
·         We recruited 2 new female academic staff in the department:  Prof. Annette Gotz, our first female professor in SEES and Dr. Catherine Mottram. Welcome Annette and Catherine!
·         Carmen Solana takes over the leadership of the Geohazards BSc course. Fool!!

2.       Issues raised:
·          Although Athena swan has traditionally focused on females, we would like to broaden it into supporting equality in general: parents, staff with illnesses or disabilities, minorities, etc.
·         While academic female staff enjoy the opportunity of flexible hours, technical and admin staff seem to encounter a very inflexible structure. Unfortunately they depend directly from human resources, but there might be opportunities to at least raise this issue. There are cases of good practice, such as James Coyne supporting Emily through allowing her more flexibility at work within her agreed hours. We therefore will support any initiative for admin and technical staff to have the opportunity to, in agreement with the line manager, have a less structured and more flexible working day around the “core hours”.
·         The proposed academic year structure is still being debated and we would like to support the proposal that breaks (e.g. reading weeks/ easter/consolidation week/etc.) coincide with Hampshire schools half term weeks and Easter holidays.  Jim Smith as Athena coordinator, to write to David Sanders informing him of our support to this option.
·         The seminar series continues to run in “non family friendly” times. Catherine, the new organiser, has agreed to test running some of these seminars at lunchtime.
·         Michelle Hale shared her good experience on an intra-faculty all-female water researchers group and proposed that either the is opened to other female lecturers/researchers or to create a new group for SEES. We agreed that more interaction and support to research, paper writing and grant opportunities will be great, maybe starting with some regular  female researchers coffee mornings- to be opened to PhD and Post-doc students as well.
·         Different people proposed more interaction within the department in general. Specifically, Catherine and Anouska (one of the few post-docs in the department) have raised the issue of the lack of opportunities for interaction and to meet more people in the department.  Organising a monthly coffee morning has been proposed.
·         Jessica Roberts, a regular external lecturer on the MSc in Crisis and Disaster Management raised the importance of opening opportunities for women in hourly contracts to formalise their contribution.
·         The department has changed to the better in terms of equality for women but there is still room for improvement: please confront any comment or behaviour that you feel that it is inappropriate or demeaning. If you rather not do it directly please raise the issue with Michelle Hale (as HoD).

3.       Actions and future meetings
·         Catherine to schedule some weekly seminars at lunchtime instead of after 6pm.
·         Jim  as Athena coordinator, to write to David Sanders informing him of our support to this option- maybe gather more support from other people at the school through an email?.
·         Annette, would you mind taking on the organisation of the female coffee mornings?
·         Michelle Hale to propose dates for a monthly coffee morning ( any chance of the department to subsidise coffee& biscuits/cakes to encourage attendance?)

·         Carmen to schedule a new meeting at the beginning of December.

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