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.

Monday, 29 January 2018

SEES Female Focus Group meeting January 2018

SEES Female Focus Group meeting, January 18st 2018 - Notes by Carmen Solana

Present : Emily Butcher, Annette Goetz, Michelle Hale, Catherine Mottram,  Carol Gough, Natalia Walasek, Carmen Solana.

1.       Introduction and welcome.

2.       Themes previously raised (Black) and resolution/actions (red):
·          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.
Although we ant to make this an inclusive group to support everybody that needs it, we decided that it is better to start with the focus of women in SEES.
·         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”.
Currently the department supports flexibility for those that need it, but the policy and how to apply for this might not be clear. Michelle Hale to write to all the department highlighting the policy and application procedure.
·         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.
Some success has been achieved in this front, with the University aligning the February and Easter reading weeks with school holidays.
·         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.
Catherine has scheduled some lunchtime seminars, some of which have been very successful. Issues were raised about participations of PhD students and possible coordination with MSc courses.
·         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.
Partly successful
·         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.
Michelle has already organised two coffee mornings and will continue to do so in regular basis.
·         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.

3.       New themes raised
·         More support between female researchers: we all want to write papers but gets postponed. Michelle shared again that she is part of a facebook group and suggested to try something similar in SEES.
·         Carmen to test creating a sees-women-researchers group to advertise times to “meet” to write papers- meaning to seat in a quiet area to each individually work in a paper.
·         To celebrate female success in this semester, to create a google docs document in which everybody adds their achievements, papers, applications (as well as Michelle’s advertising in the sees-staff group).

4.       Agreed actions and future meetings
·         Catherine: 1- to keep scheduling lunchtime seminars- but keep the afternoon ones as well . This semester there are more female speakers than male on the seminars! Good role models for pour female students! 2- To look into organising at some point a PhD students conference in which PhD students have to present their research.
·         Annette, to organise another women coffee morning around the end of March.
·         Michelle Hale: 1- To email around the department the flexible work policy and application instructions. 2-

·         Carmen: 1- To create the Google doc  “female achievent,  August 2017- Jan 2018” for all to contribute to, 2- To create the sees-female-researchers email group and start the ball rolling on advertising times for writing papers  and 3- to schedule a new meeting around June-july.

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