Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the careers of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of women in senior roles.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

SEES Female Focus Group meeting, August 1st 2017

Present : Emily Butcher, Annette Gotz, Michelle Hale, Catherine Mottram,  Anouska Panton,  Sue Ridout, Jessica Roberts, Carmen Solana.

1.       Introduction, welcome and celebration of the excellent news for SEES in 2017:
·         Michelle Hale becomes the first female HoD of SEES. Well done Michelle!
·         We recruited 2 new female academic staff in the department:  Prof. Annette Gotz, our first female professor in SEES and Dr. Catherine Mottram. Welcome Annette and Catherine!
·         Carmen Solana takes over the leadership of the Geohazards BSc course. Fool!!

2.       Issues raised:
·          Although Athena swan has traditionally focused on females, we would like to broaden it into supporting equality in general: parents, staff with illnesses or disabilities, minorities, etc.
·         While academic female staff enjoy the opportunity of flexible hours, technical and admin staff seem to encounter a very inflexible structure. Unfortunately they depend directly from human resources, but there might be opportunities to at least raise this issue. There are cases of good practice, such as James Coyne supporting Emily through allowing her more flexibility at work within her agreed hours. We therefore will support any initiative for admin and technical staff to have the opportunity to, in agreement with the line manager, have a less structured and more flexible working day around the “core hours”.
·         The proposed academic year structure is still being debated and we would like to support the proposal that breaks (e.g. reading weeks/ easter/consolidation week/etc.) coincide with Hampshire schools half term weeks and Easter holidays.  Jim Smith as Athena coordinator, to write to David Sanders informing him of our support to this option.
·         The seminar series continues to run in “non family friendly” times. Catherine, the new organiser, has agreed to test running some of these seminars at lunchtime.
·         Michelle Hale shared her good experience on an intra-faculty all-female water researchers group and proposed that either the is opened to other female lecturers/researchers or to create a new group for SEES. We agreed that more interaction and support to research, paper writing and grant opportunities will be great, maybe starting with some regular  female researchers coffee mornings- to be opened to PhD and Post-doc students as well.
·         Different people proposed more interaction within the department in general. Specifically, Catherine and Anouska (one of the few post-docs in the department) have raised the issue of the lack of opportunities for interaction and to meet more people in the department.  Organising a monthly coffee morning has been proposed.
·         Jessica Roberts, a regular external lecturer on the MSc in Crisis and Disaster Management raised the importance of opening opportunities for women in hourly contracts to formalise their contribution.
·         The department has changed to the better in terms of equality for women but there is still room for improvement: please confront any comment or behaviour that you feel that it is inappropriate or demeaning. If you rather not do it directly please raise the issue with Michelle Hale (as HoD).

3.       Actions and future meetings
·         Catherine to schedule some weekly seminars at lunchtime instead of after 6pm.
·         Jim  as Athena coordinator, to write to David Sanders informing him of our support to this option- maybe gather more support from other people at the school through an email?.
·         Annette, would you mind taking on the organisation of the female coffee mornings?
·         Michelle Hale to propose dates for a monthly coffee morning ( any chance of the department to subsidise coffee& biscuits/cakes to encourage attendance?)

·         Carmen to schedule a new meeting at the beginning of December.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Webinar – Stepping away from the lab, Thursday 27 July, 12.45–13.30pm

The IOP invites you to the webinar – Stepping away from the lab
Thursday 27 July, 12.45–13.30pm  
Are you a female physics PhD or postdoc who knows a career in academia isn’t for you but are unsure what to do next? Then this webinar is for you.
Aimed at female physics early-career researchers who want to stay in physics but move outside academia, it will focus on the what employers look for and how to apply this criteria to your applications. By the end of the webinar you will also understand your career aspirations and values in order to develop your career goals with increased confidence.
Webinar outline: The 45-minute webinar will focus on and cover the following topics:
* Non-academic roles available for physics researchers
* Where to find support (developmental research staff, careers services and the IOP)
* What employers are looking for
* Effective communication skills for any situation
* Building your networks to find out more
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact:  
Vishanti Fox
Careers & CPD Manager
Institute of Physics
76 Portland Place

Many Congratulations to Athena Livesey for gaining one of the top five places in the We are the City Female Future Pipeline Rising Star Awards...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Female academics do more admin than their male colleagues

Female academics do significantly more internal administrative work than their male counterparts, according to an analysis of surveys performed at US institutions. Carried out by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and Indiana University, the study found that the gender imbalance is highest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. While such internal work is vital for the day-to-day running of institutions, it is less valuable for promotions and salary increases than research and teaching, possibly hindering female career progression.

In one survey, which included 6875 tenure and tenure-track faculty at 140 US institutions, female academics reported spending, on average, 0.6 hours more per week than males on admin. The researchers also looked at 2012 data from a mandatory performance reporting system at two campuses belonging to a large public university. Covering 1378 faculty, it showed that women perform 12.4 admin activities per year, while men do just 10.9. In STEM subjects, women reported performing three more admin activities per year than men, compared with 2.5 for liberal arts and 0.3 for social sciences.

Read more here  

Friday, 3 March 2017

Athena Swan Committee Meeting

The next Committee Meeting will be at 13.00 on Thursday 16th March. We'll meet in The Hub.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The annual University of Portsmouth Athena SWAN Conference: 17 May 2017

Save the date in your diaries for the annual University of Portsmouth Athena SWAN Conference on Wednesday 17 May 2017, 1.00pm–4.00pm.  The theme of the 2017 Athena SWAN Conference is ‘Increasing the Diversity of our Talent Pool’, reflecting the commitment of the University to the Extended Principles of Athena SWAN.

Athena SWAN now takes a broader and more inclusive approach to gender equality, having been expanded to cover all areas of the University, not just STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine). It also now covers professional and support staff as well as academic staff and transgender equality for staff and students.

We have an exciting line-up of external and internal speakers, who will include:
Harriet Minter, a journalist and broadcaster specialising in female leadership.  She founded and edited the Guardian’s Women in Leadership section, which focused on women in the workplace, and now writes a column for them on Women in Tech.  She is also a columnist for Psychologies magazine and hosts the Badass Women’s Hour on TalkRadio

Katie Cornhill, a visionary and inspiring leader, a woman who works for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service that just happens to have a Trans* history. She also previously served for six years in the Royal Marines. Katie uses the fact that she’s a firefighter – a respected role among the local community – to educate others about the need for inclusion and equality, and an end to discrimination due to a persons sexual or gender identity and expression. Katie currently chairs the UK Fire and Rescue Service LGBTQIA+ staff support network, quiltbag and is a Trustee and Role Model for Stonewall. Katie has also orchestrated the development of a consortium of public service networks which currently has 18 member organisations.
Matthew Weait, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and the University Athena SWAN Champion.

The conference will be opened by the Vice-Chancellor, Graham Galbraith.
More info: 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

IOP - International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP)

The International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP) will take place on 16-20 July 2017 at the University of Birmingham, UK. 

On behalf of the Midlands Physics Alliance and the Institute of Physics, we would like to invite you to participate in the sixth IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP 2017) to be held at the University of Birmingham in July 2017. This is the first time the conference has been held in the UK, and will include an outstanding programme for women in physics attracting a truly international participation. The aim of the conference is to agree a set of resolutions, which will be presented at the IUPAP General Assembly. Recommendations from the conference will be sent to physics institutions and professional bodies world-wide. To find out more about the conference, visit the conference website.
Teams from all over the world will be attending as representatives of their country. The UK will be sending a substantial team, led by Dr Barbara Gabrys (Oxford) and Dr Jess Wade (Imperial College). To accommodate an international delegation, there are a limited number of places available to be part of the UK team.
Applications to be part of our team are now being invited from all those involved in physics in the UK with an interest in the issues of women in physics: physics departments, schools, research institutes and companies. Being part of our team will give you a chance to share your practice and experience on an international stage, hearing from and meeting delegates from across the world. Alongside gaining ideas and recommendations for you to implement in your own working environment, you will have a chance to influence and contribute to the UK report.
Applying is easy – just send us your details (name, job, location, area of physics, etc.) and a short statement (no more than 500 words) on why you would like to attend this conference, highlighting some or all of the following:
• Your involvement in women in science activities within your school, department, university or organisation
• Your involvement with activities to promote gender diversity and/ or public engagement
• Your particular interest in this area
• You can include a CV if you wish
Please email your statement to Barbara ( or Jess ( by 15 December 2016. We will reply to all expressions of interest in the new year.
Please note, for your own budgeting purposes: the conference is likely to cost between £500-£600 (conference fee plus accommodation) plus any associated travel expenses. The conference fee allows us to invite scientists from developing nations. It will be worth the cost to share your own practise, expertise, and to hear from the international community of women in physics.
Please contact Barbara or Jess if you have any queries.

Friday, 14 October 2016

New chairman of SEES Athena SWAN committee

It is our pleasure to announce that Dr David Franklin is our new chairman of the SEES Athena SWAN committee. Together with the Athena SWAN committee, members of the school and Prof. Strachan, David will coordinate the application process of our Athena SWAN departmental application. Work is currently on-going on new data collection and preparation of the final application.     

Friday, 5 August 2016

Our Athena SWAN Bronze Award

It is regrettable to inform you that our Departmental Bronze Award application was unsuccessful.
We are making renewed efforts to resubmit in November round.

I also stepped down from my role as Athena SWAN Departmental Coordinator and the HoD, Prof. Rob Strachan, will coordinate all our Athena SWAN activities including the November re-submission. I will, however, continue to serve as a member of the SEES Athena SWAN Committee and I will continue to run our Athena SWAN blog.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Athena SWAN Conference, 27 April 2016 - University of Portsmouth

The Athena SWAN Conference 2016 is rapidly approaching. This year it is 'Athena SWAN for all' and will focus on our successes, how a Gold Award department functions and discuss the way forward for Athena SWAN and what the enhanced process means for those academics and researchers working in non-STEM areas along with the inclusion of Professional and Support staff.
I would encourage as many as possible to attend.
Details of the event are included at the link:

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, so from our Athena Swan team a Happy Women's Day to all our SEES female staff and beyond.

To celebrate this, Dr Edith Rogers has prepared a nice cake. Please help yourself with a piece of cake, which is located in the staff room on the 4th floor, Burnaby Building.  
Happy women's Day!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

University of Oxford Females in STEM will host its 5th Annual Conference

The University of Oxford Females in Engineering, Science and Technology will host its 5th Annual Conference for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Women in STEM. There are still some places left to attend the conference and so we ask that you please advertise the conference among your students and encourage them to apply. 

The day will be packed full with a stimulating range of talks, interactive workshops and a panel discussion all centred on which career options are available for you as an undergraduate or a young researcher, what steps to take next and how to maximise your potential and achieve your career goals within STEM. There will also be plenty of opportunities to network and share and discuss experiences with both peers and STEM’s most prominent figures.

This event promises to be filled with exciting activities that will open your eyes to the range of roles of women in the scientific world and will present an exciting opportunity for you to be inspired, acquire vital skills, widen your network of connections and be motivated to go out and pursue your goals and careers.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Royal Society Athena Prize 2016

Nominations are now open for the Royal Society Athena Prize 2016.

The Prize is a new national award which recognises individuals and teams in the UK research community who have contributed towards the advancement of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The award aims to inspire innovation and leadership in diversity issues and joins the Society’s prestigious set of medals and awards announced each summer. The winner/s of the prize receives a medal and a gift of £5,000 and runners-up will receive a gift of £1,000.

Please do look around your institution and think of who you might nominate for the prize. Do you know someone who has set up an innovative project that is contributing to the advancement of diversity in STEM and should be recognised for their efforts? This is an opportunity to celebrate those inspirational individuals and teams who are leading the way by putting diversity at the heart of everything they do.

The closing date for nominations is 6pm Tuesday 29 March 2016. I would be grateful if you could circulate this call for nominations to your networks and contacts.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Why Sexism at the Office Makes Women Love Hillary Clinton (NY Times Op-Ed)

Even for women active in feminist causes in college, as I was a dozen years ago, that can be a rude awakening. As a young lawyer, one of the first things I noticed about department meetings at my law firm was not just the dearth of female partners, but that one of the few female partners always seemed to be in charge of ordering lunch. I listened as some of my male colleagues opined on the need to marry a woman who would stay home with the children — that wasn’t sexist, they insisted, because it wasn’t that they thought only women should stay home; it was just that somebody had to, and the years in which they planned on having children would be crucial ones for their own careers.
I saw that the older white, male partners who mentored the younger white, male associates were able to work long days and excel professionally precisely because their stay-at-home wives took care of everything else; I saw that virtually none of the female partners had a similar setup.
In jobs that followed, managers would remark that they wanted “more women” and proceed to reject qualified candidates. (Similar dynamics took place with minority candidates.) There were always reasons — not the right cultural fit, not the right experience, a phenomenon of unintentional sexism now well documented in controlled studies. I watched as men with little or irrelevant experience were hired and promoted, because they had such great ideas, or they fit in better. “We want a woman,” the conclusion seemed to be, “just not this woman.”
Watching a primary election in which an eminently qualified woman long assumed to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination faces a serious challenge from an older white guy with exciting ideas, many women my age and older hear something familiar, and personal, in the now-common refrain about Hillary Clinton: “I want a woman president, just not this woman president.”

Read the full piece here.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Stereotype Trap (CogTales blog)

That women in science and in the professional world in general are subject to gender biases with real consequences (lower pay, less career opportunities) goes without saying.
In this context, I find it important to be aware of how easy it is to be biased myself. Not in order to justify, but to better understand. I have recently made two experiences with my own and fellow female researchers’ biases, in situations where I somewhat slipped into a man’s skin.
Now, slapping on my man skin aka MetaLab poster for the BCCCD conference, I got one female researcher who looked, mumbled  “Oh, oh, this looks complicated!”, and left. There was another one who actually started talking to me but who stated, before I could even open my mouth: “I am not sure I will understand this. It looks very difficult.” Granted, this is a sample of N=2 (although Christina just told me that she got similar reactions exclusively by women on a similar poster recently), and there were many others that did not say anything like this. Nevertheless, I had never gotten any such reaction on any other project. So man skin experience #1 showed me a few examples of women having a that’s-too-complicated-for-me-bias against themselves.
Well, you might say, this man skin isn’t too convincing. But I have an even better one. It’s my first name. First names ending in ‘o’ are, across many cultures, associated with men rather than women. I think I first got painfully aware of this when the Russian family friend persistently called me “Shoa”, because he just didn’t want to deal with the fact that a little girl’s name ended with an “o”. Fast-forward, and I keep receiving an uncountable amount of mail addressed to “Mr./Herr/Dhr./M. Tsuji”, and recently this involuntary man skin, actually in combination with the MetaLab man skin, culminated in me being imagined as an “over 40-year-old single guy who watches porn movies in his free time.”

Read the full post here.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Early Career Scientist news from the European Association of Geochemistry

Early Career Science Ambassador Program: deadline coming up

The Early Career Science Ambassador Program supports scientists based in Europe, in the final stages of their PhD or within 6 years post PhD, to attend conferences outside Europe (except Goldschmidt), by covering 50% of their expenses, up to 2000 Euros. The next application deadline is 1 March.
Travel bursaries for workshop on Highly Siderophile Elements

EAG is a proud co-sponsor of the 4th International Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry Workshop taking place at the University of Durham, UK, on 11-15 July 2016, and we'd like to remind students that travel bursaries are available. Abstract and registration deadline is 4 March.
Environmental Mineralogy Group Early Career Bursary Scheme
The Environmental Mineralogy Group of the Mineralogical Society launches a £500 bursary for Early Career researchers in the disciplines of environmental, applied, and bio mineralogy to facilitate ‘seed corn’ research, develop ‘pump priming’ ideas, support career development, and commercialisation of research into industry. Read more.

University of Portsmouth celebrates International Women’s Day (Staff Essentials)

The University of Portsmouth celebrates International Women’s Day with the following talks and film screenings:

Female Philanthropy and the Inter-War World in Twentieth-Century Britain
Date: Tuesday 8 March 2016
Time: 5.15pm
Venue: Dennis Sciama, Room 2.14
Dr. Eve Colpus, Lecturer in British and European History Post 1850 at Southampton University, will speak on ‘Female Philanthropy and the Inter-War World in Twentieth-Century Britain’, organised by the Women’s and Gender Studies Research Cluster, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. No booking needed. All are welcome!

International Women’s Day Film and Talk
Date: Thursday 10 March 2016
Time: 6.30pm talk, 7.00pm screening
Venue: Eldon Screening Theatre, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
The screening of Suffragette and talk by Professor June Purvis, a world-renowned expert on the subject and who advised the filmmakers.
Admission is free, but please reserve your place on Eventbrite.

Make More Noise (UK, 1899-1917) Cert | 80 min
Date: Thursday 31 March 2016
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: Eldon Screening Theatre, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
Cinema was born as the Suffragettes campaign was gathering momentum, and so they made it there business to get in front of the camera. A fascinating compilation of 21 short films from the BFI national archive that show how these women were being portrayed on screen.

Tickets £6 from

Thursday, 18 February 2016

MSA Mineralogy/Petrology grants for students

The Mineralogical Society of America invites undergraduate and graduate student applications for a Grant for Student Research in Mineralogy and Petrology. This grant seeks to support innovative research by students. The next deadline for proposal submission is June 1, 2016.

At least two awards of up to $5,000 each are given each year. Students, including graduate and undergraduate students, are encouraged to apply. However, all proposals are considered together. The award selection will be based on the qualifications of the applicant, the quality, innovativeness, and scientific significance of the research, and the likelihood of success of the project. Applicants may not apply for both this and the MSA Grant for Research in Crystallography in the same year.

The grant is for research-related expenses only. Travel to meetings, conferences, short courses, non-research fieldtrips, tuition, non-research living (room and board) expenses, overhead or indirect costs, etc. are not suitable uses of the money. Neither should the money be used for salary or wages for the researcher. Proposals that make such requests will not be considered further. The successful applicant will also be asked in the year following grant to write a short summary of how the money was spent.

Additional information about the grants is at