Lots of things about 2020 have been very different, but one thing that has stayed the same is how busy we have been at Equate Scotland! Just like most of you, we quickly shifted to online delivery of our trainings, events, and services. It has been a positive move that has allowed us to stay connected to employers and women in STEM and reach a wider audience. COVID-19 has meant adjusting to considerable change in our personal and work lives and we ran a series of events dedicated to supporting women during those changes. We also published a report based on a survey we ran to ensure that students, women and employers’ voices could be heard and to make sure that the work we do fits your current needs.

Here is a run-down of our work throughout the year:

January:

We ran our last Career Paths event after three years of highlighting different STEM industries opportunities in Scotland. This last event run in conjunction with  @DataLab  broadened students awareness of future job prospects in Automated Intelligence, as speakers from a diverse range of professions and organisations such as Amazon, RBS, Think Analytics, CJ Security and ECS demonstrated the diverse range of career options that women are doing in this exciting area.

February:

We launched an online list of #womeninSTEM experts and commentators in Scotland. We wanted to give these inspiring women more opportunities to share their expertise with a wider audience. If you are a #womaninSTEM you can join the list and if you are looking for a speaker click here.

March:

We hosted our fifth national student conference for women in STEM. The event was sponsored by seven fantastic employers who participated throughout the day ending in a mini employment fair. We announced the winners of the Student Network Awards Awards and listened to two inspirational engineer keynote speakers. Alongside our conference was our International Women’s Day celebration Quiz which tested women students and professonals participants’ knowledge of different STEM disciplines. You can see all of the pictures of the event here.

April:

COVID-19 has meant adjusting to considerable change in our personal and work lives for all of us; changes in where we work, how we work, and even if we work. Many of us are navigating these changes while juggling other pressing and new commitments in our lives, whether that be homeschooling and entertaining children, caring for those isolating or shielding, or taking on voluntary roles in our communities. For that reason, we ran a series of events aimed at women in STEM to tackle some of the issues highlighted by you. Some of those events were:  Your employment rights during COVID 19 in partnership with Morton Fraser, Change Management and Maintaining Work-Life Balance during Covid-19, Getting the most of your online network and Confidence Building. We also published blogs on How to run webinars and Top tips to maintaining a healthy mind whilst working at home.

We launched our report looking at experiences of women in STEM through an intersectional lense – giving us crucial insight into the lived experiences of women from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, disabled women, LGBT women and women with caring responsibilities across Scotland’s STEM sector.

Some of the key findings of the report are:
– 60% of women have experienced sexism in the workplace or in education.
– 1 in 3 women surveyed do not feel confident reporting incidences of exclusion or discrimination.
– 64% of women did not feel enough was being done to create inclusive workplaces or learning environments.

Read the full report here.

June:

This month Equate Scotland published an Industry Guide to support the construction industry to attract and retain women into the sector. Working with  Sir Robert McAlpine, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and the City of Glasgow College, Equate is a part of a wider project titled Inclusive Value. Together we have developed an online tool that will help employers in the UK

July:

This year’s Career Enhancement Programme was a little different, not only because we ran it in partnership with Scottish Engineering, but because we ran it on an online basis for the first time. What is usually a 3-day programme running over 3 months was adapted due to Covid-19 and ran weekly, over a period of six weeks. This new online format attracted an exceptionally high number of applications from women across the country with eleven inspirational Women in STEM finishing the programme.

August:

We created our first podcast series with the help of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. We have interviewed a series of women to discuss the things that affect our everyday life and talk about how their work is literally changing the world we live in. Hence the title, The Stuff That Matters. Click here to find out about the science behind heavy periods, how sharks are part of the global effort to find a vaccination to COVID 19 and how technology is advancing dementia care.

September:

Equate Scotland in partnership with ConStructEd Scotland and Sibbalds Training delivered our 3rd hugely successful 3-day women-only Equate ConStructed event in September 2020.  Sibbalds and ConStructEd had to make a number of changes to how the course was delivered during COVID to ensure the health and safety of all our participants and staff over the 3 days.  Erin Cullen, Heriot-Watt University said: ‘An amazing experience I’m so glad to have taken part in, the most exhausting but rewarding 3 days. Learned so much in such a short time and made new friends and connections that will benefit me in the future’.  Read the full story here.

October:

Tuesday 13 October was Ada Lovelace Day – the international celebration of women in tech. This year, we ran a small online campaign called #NextAdaLovelaceDay. The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness about gender equality in STEM and hopefulness that by #NextAdaLovelaceDay we will all have even more to celebrate. As part of our Ada Lovelace Day celebrations, we hosted an event What I wish I’d known… Advice from inspirational women in tech, with Ada Scot and the feedback, was fantastic.

November:

Equate Scotland in collaboration with The DataLab and Codeclan delivered our first hugely successful Women in Data Science online experiential learning event. Attended by 18 women and rated 100% excellent by those attending, the cohort was made up of 6 students, 5 career changers and 9 professional women from across Scotland including Aberdeen, Kinross, Dundee, Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh, each with an interest in learning key data science skills to help them upskill or reskill in this field.

December:

Last week we hosted an Equate MeetUp with Dell Technologies. Over 70 women joined us to hear the career journeys of those working at Dell and find out about future opportunities in tech. In this session, we learned that 5G, AI, and the Cloud are the emerging areas of tech in Scotland but the overarching message of the event was ‘You don’t need to be technical to have a career in tech‘.  If you are interested in a career at Dell, they are currently advertising on the Equate CareerHub.