11 February marks the second ever International Day of Women and Girls in Science, an initiative by the United Nations, as part of their continuing efforts to eliminate gender inequality in science, employment, opportunities and education.
This year’s theme is ‘Gender, Science and Sustainable Development: The Impact of Media’. One challenge presented by the media is the use of gender stereotypes, which can portray science as a male domain and discourage women from considering a career in science.
Heriot-Watt University continues to carry out activities designed to show girls and young women just what’s possible. Recently our staff and students have delivered a number of events.
Celebrating Science Careers
At their ‘Celebrating Science Careers’ event Heriot-Watt Engage, in collaboration with Edinburgh’s Our Dynamic Earth, ensured that 180 11-16 year olds met female STEM role models.
Observing our Earth: Careers Event
Image drawn by a participant at ‘Observing our Earth: Careers Event’ at Our Dynamic Earth.
Girls into a Digital World
As part of Skills Development Scotland’s “Girls into a Digital World” initiative, colleagues and students from our Heriot-Watt Computing Science department hosted 36 female school pupils and introduced them to all the things you can do with computing science. The feedback says it all:
"University is actually an option for me now."
"I would definitely like to study here."
"I really enjoyed seeing all the labs, the robots were awesome."
"Thank you for doing this, I think I shall come back when I am older."
"I now really, really want to be a programmer."
Equate Scotland’s CareerWISE scheme
Since 2013, colleagues across EPS and MACs have hosted 23 female UG students to do summer placements in Physics (3), Petroleum Engineering (2) and Computing Sciences (18) as part of Equate Scotland’s CareerWISE scheme.
Laura White and Carol Masona, two of our UG interns. Laura said, “I feel lucky to have experienced such an insightful internship at this point in my degree.”
These are only some of the many activities run across the University. We join United Nations in celebrating and encouraging these activities and thank all of our colleagues and students for their continuing passion in addressing this challenge.