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, 7 November 2017

Athena Swan Female Student Focus Group
Notes and Actions

Student Representatives: Katherine Tuley, Rosina Rennie, Ebony Acheampong, Marta Docal Morales, Rebecca Birch.    

SEES Athena Swan Committee members: David Franklin; Jim Smith

The group discussed differences in gender in Geo/Env Sciences at all stages from school to academic and non-academic careers. The students present didn’t report any obvious gender bias within the department. However, it was noted that the majority of teaching staff were white male. This led to a lack of ethnic diversity in teaching staff and, in some subjects, the teaching staff were almost exclusively male. It was noted that Environmental Science staff have an approximately 50/50 male to female ratio, whereas in the geological sciences there were fewer women. On the Masters courses, teaching is almost exclusively by male staff. It was suggested that it would be helpful to have more external female and ethnic minority speakers aimed at career paths. It was noted that the SEES Seminar Series had a good gender balance.

Gender specific tutorials had been suggested as a potential way to support female undergraduates and postgraduates. This was discussed: the group was unanimous that this was not necessary.

Fieldwork was discussed; some students reported no issues, but others felt that there could be better preparation for fieldwork, particularly in terms of preparing students for what to expect, and what would be expected of them, on field courses.

A Women in Geo/Environmental science event was discussed; this was felt to be useful if focussed on career opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students. To improve female participation in geo/environmental sciences, it was felt that efforts should be aimed at schools, particularly in the 11-14 age group before GCSE/A level choices had been made. The Student Ambassador scheme was discussed and it was felt that information/encouragement should be given to students in SEES to participate.

The international student experience at UoP was discussed: this was felt to be positive.

Women in Geo/Env Science event focussed on careers/employability – this is being pursued by the SEES Athena Swan committee together with Geography.

Raise awareness of the Student Ambassador scheme within SEES

Improved preparation for fieldwork. This issue will also be addressed in a joint study of diversity issues in fieldwork with Geography.

Ongoing aim to improve diversity of lecturing staff.

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