What has been done to increase the number of women in science?

Image by Kenneth Ingham on Flickr

Having and retaining more women in science is important for the development of the nation.

Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist and a member of the house of lords in the UK, said that “given we constitute 60% of human race, it follows we have 60% of brain power and to not include women in science would be to deny science and science progress”.

There are a number of programmes and associations committed to helping women develop and reach the peak of their career in science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM).

Anita Borg for Institute for Women and Technology

This institute increases the impact of women in all aspects of technology. It provides resources and programs that could help companies, organisations, academia and government retain and develop more women into technical positions.

Recently, the institute published ten solutions to recruiting technical women on its website. The solutions include: revising job descriptions in order to reduce gender stereotypes, building a strong network at conferences, universities and colleges, and professional organizations where there are high proportions of women from diverse backgrounds, instituting a blind resume screening process to reduce unconscious bias and more.

“Many of the best practices identified to recruit technical women were drawn from our 2011 Top Company for Technical Women Workshop,” said Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute.

WISE- Women into science, engineering and construction

WISE is a campaign run by the UKRC that works hand-in-hand with industry and education to encourage and inspire girls to take a career in STEM. They help to make the voices of girls heard by organisations and policy makers.

The organisation also organises award events to recognise inspiring organisations and individuals who are actively involved in their concern of encouraging and promoting young women and girls participation in STEM.

L’oreal UNESCO: Women in Science

The programme was founded 14 years ago to help promote the participation of women in science. Each year, awards are given out to outstanding women researchers around the globe who have contributed immensely to scientific progress.

The award is a collaborative partnership between L’oreal and UNESCO, and carries out a grant for each laureate.

Athena swan (Charter for women in science)

This is a charter supported by the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science and Equality challenge unit. Athena Swan is a charter committed to strengthening of science, engineering and technology(SET) equally across the globe.

One of its aims is to spread good practice on improving the representation of women in SET in higher education.

It gives an award twice a year to recognise and celebrate good practice of recruiting and promoting women in SET.


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