BAME Girls in Engineering great success at Bristol Brunel Academy

Posted on

Dr Udonna Okeke tells us about a hugely successfull visit of his project,  BAME girls in engineering, to Bristol Brunel Academy in this guest post.

BAME Girls in engineering in partnership with UWE BoxED, had an outreach event at the Bristol Brunel Academy on Thursday 9th May and I am extremely excited to say that the feedback from the school has been very positive.

The school is happy with our outreach project and are very keen for more outreach and other engagements with the project. Based on the feedback, the students are very happy with the outreach activities that took place and would like us to make a return visit.

Below is some of the feedback from the students:

“Excellent: it was fun, exiting and very interesting. The robotics coding was very fun, especially when we were controlling the robots”

“I thought it was very good and inspiring and I liked making the turbines and playing with the robots. I want the outreach to happen again on a Thursday”

“It was nice and fun when we listened to the talk and was given the opportunity to code and control the robots”.

This feedback means a lot to me and I am looking forward to the next phase of this project.

Women in Nuclear Workshop: Making the Most of Our Individuality

Posted on

Women in Nuclear are hosting a free workshop on self-awareness and individuality in Bristol on 20th June.

Greater self-awareness and awareness of others is key to increasing conscious inclusion. Caroline Brown and Emily Hutchinson will share the Strengths Approach used to shift our focus from the collective to the individual.

The Strengths Approach has its origins in Positive Psychology and has been proven to improve happiness and wellbeing, as well as performance and success, and inclusivity (and hence diversity). 

They will explain the approach and you will have the opportunity to identify your own strengths and to explore how using them could make a difference to your performance.  This understanding will also help you to be able to ‘strengths spot’ in others and help them to also embrace their individuality and operate at their best.

For information and to register please see the event page on Eventbrite.

Exploring the concept of Emotional Intelligence with Women Like Me

Posted on

In our public event at Bristol and Bath Science Park today, as part of Women Like Me’s closing event for this round, we are exploring the concept of emotional intelligence with Caroline Morris of Wide Eyed Group Leadership Consultancy.

Caroline recently wrote a great blog for us about Emotional Intelligence; read all about it here.

WES-UWE Wikithon underway!

Posted on

The joint WES-UWE Wikithon, part of the WES Centenary celebrations, is currently underway at Bristol and Bath Science Park.

Volunteers are editing Wikipedia to increase visibility of women in STEM.

UWE Bristol becomes founding member of Women in Business Charter

Posted on

The first Women in Business in the UK launched on 26th March in Bristol, with UWE Bristol a founding member alongside Burges Salmon, Bristol Airport, Bristol City Council, OVO, Bishop Fleming, Moon Consulting and Pelican Business Services. .

The Women in Business Task Group, established to champion and advance the careers of women and help improve gender representation in businesses across Bristol, consists of women representing organisations from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and is part of the Bristol Women’s Commission (BWC). The BWC was created in 2013, seeing Bristol become the first UK city to sign the European Charter for equality of women and men in local life.

The task group is using the Women in Business Charter to support businesses in improving their awareness of gender equality and changes that need to be made. Employers across the city are being asked to lead by example and commit to taking action to promote gender equality in the workplace. This will be guided through the seven goals of the Charter, which include promotion of flexible or part-time work at all levels, and increasing the number of women at senior levels and on boards.

The charter can be viewed online and is open to all businesses. For further information, please contact the womeninbusinesscharter@gmail.com or follow the charter on Twitter.

Don’t forget: UWE women in STEM events tomorrow

Posted on

There’s still time to sign up for two FREE events, hosted by UWE at the Bristol and Bath Science Park tomorrow (please note the change of venue; these events were originally scheduled to be held at UWE):

Women Like Me – Boosting mentoring for women in STEM in the West of England

Wednesday 3rd April, 12:00-14:00

This event brings together our leading players in women’s mentoring across the West of England, to explore how we can support each other and learn from best practice. Organised by UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me project for engineering mentoring, the network also connects with Women in Science and Engineering Bristol, the Women’s Engineering Society centenary and Curiosity Connections Bristol.

Extraordinary Women in Engineering: A WES Wikithon – UWE Bristol

Wednesday 3rd April: Training 09:30-10:00 | Wikithon drop in 10:00-14:00

Come and join us to develop your digital skills and learn more about editing Wikipedia. Help to celebrate brilliant women engineers by creating and improving their pages on the world’s favourite online historical record.

Complete beginners and experienced editors, all are welcome to attend – we’ll provide training for anyone new to editing. If you already have some wiki editing experience, we can help you improve your skills and learn a few new tricks. If you’ve spotted an article that needs improving, bring along your queries and we’ll see what we can do to help. Suggestions for articles to improve and create will also be provided, along with research resources.

Sarah Guppy show and women in STEM panel discussion recorded for schools

Posted on

Back in November, Show of Strength‘s production about Sarah Guppy – engineer, inventor, campaigner, designer, reformer, writer, environmentalist and business woman – opened to great reviews.

These included comments such as:

“You won’t look at Isambard Kingdom Brunel or the Clifton Suspension Bridge in quite the same way ever again after seeing this piece.”

and:

“An inspiring and witty homage to someone who deserves a far more central place in Bristol’s – and Britain’s – commercial and industrial history.”

and crucially:

“Please find a way of getting this into every school in Bristol.”

Which is what Show of Strength, in collaboration with UWE Bristol, Future Quest, Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain, did yesterday.

Girls from Bristol Brunel Academy and Bristol Metropolitan Academy, coordinated by Future Quest’s Gemma Adams, attended an exclusive showing of Sarah Guppy: The Bridge, The Bed, The Truth in UWE’s filming studio at the university’s Bower Ashton campus. The performance was filmed, thanks to UWE’s Abigail Davies, and followed by a panel discussion on women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which was also recorded so that both elements of yesterday’s production can be shown in schools.

The panel discussion was chaired by UWE’s Dr Madge Dresser, an expert in social and cultural British history, who recently put Sarah Guppy forward for inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. On the panel were civil engineeer Trish Johnson (the first female Bridgemaster of Clifton Suspension Bridge), mechanical engineer Nicola Grahamslaw (Conservation Engineer for the SS Great Britain), mechanical engineer Rachel Gollin (who has extensive experience of engineering various sectors across the world), Dr Laura Fogg Rogers (Senior Research Fellow at UWE; Women Like Me), Dr Laura Hobbs (Research Fellow at UWE; Women Like Me) and Miriam Cristofoletti (Robotics student at UWE’s Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

“It’s still not great for women in STEM but at least we’re allowed to be engineers and scientists now!”

Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, UWE Bristol

Discussion ranged from why girls don’t choose STEM subjects to the best thing about an engineer and back again, via conversation about what engineers can expect to earn, how to get into engineering and more.

Feedback was positive – Future Quest described hearing from a panel of women in STEM and their thoughts and advice about their careers as

“both inspiring and thought provoking”

And it is hoped that the film will inspire many more school students in future.

Header image shows left to right: Trish Johnson (Clifton Suspension Bridge), Nicola Grahamslaw (SS Great Britain), Rachel Gollin, Kim Hicks as Sarah Guppy, Dr Laura Fogg Rogers (UWE Bristol), Dr Laura Hobbs (UWE Bristol), Miriam Cristofoletti (UWE Bristol), Sheila Hannon (Producer, Show of Strength), Dr Madge Dresser (UWE Bristol) and Gemma Adams (UWE Bristol/Future Quest).

ESRI publishes working paper on understanding gender differences in STEM

Posted on

ESRI have recently published a new working paper, “It’s not just for boys! Understanding gender differences in STEM”. The report, authored by Judith Delaney and Paul Devereux, relates to the STEM education landscape in Ireland. The synopsis reads:

While education levels of women have increased dramatically relative to men, women are still greatly underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) college programmes. We use unique data on preference rankings for all secondary school students who apply for college in Ireland and detailed information on school subjects and grades to decompose the sources of the gender gap in STEM. We find that, of the 22 percentage points raw gap, about 13 percentage points is explained by differential subject choices and grades in secondary school. Subject choices are more important than grades — we estimate male comparative advantage in STEM (as measured by subject grades) explains about 3 percentage points of the gender gap. Additionally, differences in overall achievement between girls and boys have a negligible effect. Strikingly, there remains a gender gap of 9 percentage points even for persons who have identical preparation at the end of secondary schooling (in terms of both subjects studied and grades achieved); however, this gap is only 4 percentage points for STEM-ready students. We find that gender gaps are smaller among high-achieving students and for students who go to school in more affluent areas. There is no gender gap in science (the large gaps are in engineering and technology), and we also find a smaller gender gap when we include nursing degrees in STEM, showing that the definition of STEM used is an important determinant of the conclusions reached.

The working paper can be downloaded from the ESRI website.

Free posters celebrating female STEM role models

Posted on

A Mighty Girl have collated a set of free downloadable posters of women role models in STEM, created by the podcast Nevertheless, which celebrates women transforming teaching and learning through technology.

Featuring Cynthia Breazeal, Rosalind Franklin, Mae Jemison, Maria De Penha, Juliana Rotich, Hayat Sindi, Tu Youyou and Gladys West, there’s a broad range of women to choose from to enthuse and inspire the next generation.

With thanks to Aimee Atkinson for highlighting this resource.

Mentoring platform launched for women in aerospace and aviation to help reduce gender inequality in the industry

Posted on

A new online mentoring platform could help professional women working in the aerospace and aviation industry progress their careers by connecting them with female mentors in the sector. Launched on 8th March, International Women’s Day 2019, the platform is part of the ‘alta’ mentoring scheme, which began four years ago and is a partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Airbus, Little Blue Private Jets and the Royal Air Force, with additional support from Collins Aerospace.

“The UK is the country in Europe that has the least amount of women in engineering and this includes the aerospace industry, where there is a chronic shortage of women,” said UWE Bristol project leader Sue Durbin, who is Professor in Human Resource Management at UWE Bristol and specialises in gender inequalities in employment in male dominated industries.

“Through this project, we want to empower women to gain confidence by receiving non-judgmental female-to-female advice and support, thereby enabling their careers to take off.”

Professional women working in the aerospace and aviation sectors who want guidance can use the platform to help them link up with a suitable female mentor. Both are required to answer a series of questions online, based on which the website’s algorithm matches up the mentee with a compatible mentor.

After initial contact, both parties are free to arrange when, where and how often they meet. All meetings and correspondence can be planned through the platform, providing a place for both parties to maintain their mentoring relationship in a safe, secure and confidential online environment.

The alta mentoring scheme, funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the founding partners, looks to change the way females are perceived in male-dominated industries and aims to put an end to gender inequality in engineering. As well as helping women receive career guidance, the platform also helps mentors raise their profile in the profession.

The new platform, is run by the Royal Aeronautical Society and is part of the Society’s commitment to delivering on the pledges it made as a supporter of the Women in Aviation Charter. The charter was signed by government and industry at Farnborough Air Show last July.

In addition to the platform, there will be alta networking and mentoring events throughout the year to help mentors and mentees meet face to face, as well as provide insights into career development and management.

Sarah Minett, chair of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Women in Aerospace and Aviation Committee, said: “Our new alta platform will provide a fantastic source of support, enabling women to connect with experienced females in key roles in the industry, including senior leadership, flight deck and engineering roles. We hope to see greater retention of women within the sector as well as more women returning to the industry after caring breaks. In turn this will contribute to companies’ efforts to close the gender pay gap and help build more balanced and diverse organisations.”

Professor Durbin said: “Such assistance can help women feel valued, assist them in getting into leadership positions, and increase female retention in the industry. It might also help them gain confidence, receive assistance when they are returning to work after a maternity break, or reduce their suffering from ‘impostor syndrome,’ whereby they feel they don’t deserve to thrive in a male-dominated workplace.”

The mentoring project comes at a time when many young women who take STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are failing to enter the engineering workforce, given the gender stereotyping that can exist in the sector, according to Professor Durbin.

Women engineers also often drop out of the industry or fail to return after maternity leave. “This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as a ‘leaky pipeline’, a metaphor used to describe the continuous loss of women in STEM as they climb the career ladder,” said Durbin.

Judith Milne, founder of Little Blue Private Jets said: “We are keen advocates of the positive power of networking and alta will be a wonderful diverse network of people from across the industry all focused on a common theme. Success breeds success and women helping women can only lead to positive outcomes for the women involved and the industry as a whole.”

The alta partners worked with mentoring platform specialist Perform Learn Develop to develop the online tool. The platform also contains a wealth of information to support the mentoring journey, including videos produced by the alta partners, a dedicated handbook with in-depth advice and guidance as well access to other mentoring materials produced by Perform, Learn and Develop.

Organisations wishing to become more involved in alta can also join as alta supporters by making a small donation to ensure its ongoing development and support, and the ability to hold networking events. In this way, companies can help their female professionals receive mentoring from across the industry – not just from someone in their company. 

This post was originally published on the UWE Bristol news site on 08/03/19.