Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Women in Science News Roundup: Europe Edition

Here's the roundup from Europe, although I guess it's more accurate to say from the British Isles and Ireland. What's clearly missing is news from the non-English press. I'd love non-English news tips if you can give me an overview or synopsis in English.

UPI reports on a conference in Potsdam Germany to discuss career and family. It's not clear how representative the quotes are, but it appears that - surprise, surprise - men and women have different views on how compatible being a scientist and raising a family are.

"As scientists and parents, we are actually quite lucky -- because a family serves as a good balance to a job that incites us and requires us to go beyond the 40-hour week, but which is quite flexible at the same time," a father of four said at the conference.

"Children are part of life and they enrich us," a mother said. However, children and career are not easily compatible in the German research system, and there are no doubts about where there is room for improvement, according to Jutta Allmendinger, president of the Social Science Research Center, in Berlin.
Laboratory News reports that the Institute of Physics has launched project Juno to help reduce the gender gap in physics departments.

Based on the findings of a series of visits to university departments over two years, the Institute has turned the good working practices found in some university physics departments into a code of practice. Academic departments can sign up to this code of practise and become recognised as a Juno Supporter or Juno Champion.

“There are many benefits to a physics department in becoming a Juno Champion” said incoming Institute president, Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell. “By meeting the five Juno principles a department shows that it has a working culture in which all staff and students, both men and women, can achieve their full potential – and that has to be good for recruitment and retention of talented staff and students. Juno is not just for physics – the code of practice is applicable to any academic department concerned with promoting diversity.”

icWales is "calling for the most inspiring women in Wales" for the Western Mail Welsh Woman of the Year Award. The "Women in Science & Technology" Category closes to nominations on September 12th.
This award recognises women making strides in science and technology-related activities in manufacturing and industry, academia or the public sector. This category provides women who work in these traditionally male-dominated areas of work with an opportunity to demonstrate how their activities have benefited their respective fields in Wales.
Last year's award went to Cardiff University mechanical engineering professor Karen Holford, a founder member of Women into Science and Engineering in Wales.

The Irish Times reports on a forecast by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) that 44% of managers will be women by 2012. The percentage of women in professional and management occupations are expected to increase, in most, but not all fields.
One exception to the trend is that the proportion of women entering science and engineering professions is not expected to change.
The Norwich (UK) Evening News reports that the Norfolk-based Women's Employment, Enterprise and Training Unit (Weetu) has responded to a study that reported only 8% of the patent applications from the region were by women.
Nicky Stevenson, acting manager of Weetu, said: “While patents reflect the level of inventions I don't think it reflects the level of enterprising skills of women in the region - it's far, far higher than this.

“However, educational choices that girls and young women make - not to go into science, engineering and technology - is going to have an impact on their ability to design products for patenting, which is essentially an engineering or design skill.

“From Weetu's point of view, a lot of the women starting up businesses with our help are not designing products and are more likely to be in selling services.”

Ms Stevenson believes the tendency for girls and young women to choose “softer subjects” in the arts needs to be addressed in schools.

According to the Pakistan Daily Times
, Lancashire access and support for science, technology and maths (LASS) is anew project to encourage Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls to study science.
Setpoint manager Barbara Tigar said: “There is a problem nationally in that there are very few girls from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds getting involved in STEM areas.

[. . .] ‘’Since September, we’ve been running after school and lunch clubs to support the girls towards achieving their bronze creativity in science and technology (CREST) award.”

A group of year eight girls from Beardwood are celebrating after winning their bronze CREST award, and also being named as the best overall team out of all five schools, for the bath bombs and jewellery they made.
I'm not sure how making jewelry encourages girls to study science, but I guess they've figured out some connection.

There's gotta be more European news out there - send me some links!

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Anonymous said...

Norwegian Women in Science initiative:

German Women in Research and Technology project:

Peggy K said...

Thanks for the links!