Last month the School of Psychology hosted its first Women in Science Event (WiSE). WiSE is a new collaboration between the University and the Athena Swan Charter for Women in Science, designed to provide a platform for discussion about women in science.

The Athena Swan Charter aims to advance gender equality within UK institutions of higher education, promoting representation, progression and success. Athena Swan support institutions across the UK to facilitate and instigate positive change, supporting women in professional and academic roles.

The WiSE event involved presentations by selected panellists at various stages of their careers from across the School, covering their career paths to date and highlighting challenges faced along the way. The panellists were: Professor Jane Raymond, Dr Davinia Fernández-Espejo, Dr Sarah Beck, Dr Zanna Clay, and Eva Reindl. Presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session, where members of the audience and panellists came together to discuss relevant ideas and issues. The Q&A touched on a variety of themes, including: the perceived requirement of women to become more ‘masculine’ to succeed in science, self-imposed barriers to progression through academia, the balance of risky ambition and safety, fears surrounding success and failure, the increasing incidents of covert sexism, and taking ownership over personal contributions. Following the event’s success, future events will hopefully be taking place regularly, building on previous discussions in a variety of formats.

The University currently holds a Bronze Athena Swan Charter Award, and it is hoped that events such as WiSE will continue to build on and improve the University’s existing reputation for supporting women in science.

WiSE took place as part of the School’s annual Research Event, which showcases the current research of students and staff. WiSE is co-organised by Dr Ian Apperly, Dr Amanda Wood, and the current PhD student representatives; Brandon Ashinoff, Rachel Marchant, and Natasha Yasmin.