2019 has been another busy year for us at Equate Scotland. Whether it is our high quality training events being delivered, or our policy influencing work to develop better gender equality interventions across the labour market in Scotland. Here is a run down of our work throughout the year, and some of the (good and bad) news about women in STEM. We hope this inspires you to get involved in our work in 2020.
We launched our first project with Scottish Engineering and SEMTA to support the development of gender equality efforts in SMEs across Scotland. Since then the project has trained over 80 participants and has been funded to deliver more interventions in 2020. Find out more.
This month saw the launch of Caroline Criado Perez’s book, Invisible Women, a multi-award winning analysis of male bias in the science, engineering and technology around us; from seatbelts to medical tests, revealing the impact of women’s under-representation across STEM. The book has been successful in pushing Equate Scotland’s work further and has been a new route for industry and academia to understand the issues and work with us. Equate Scotland had the pleasure of sharing a platform with the author at The Scotsman Data Conference.
We hosted our largest ever national student conference for women in STEM, with three award winners and Antarctic adventurer keynotes speakers. Alongside our conference was our International Women’s Day celebration for our #ThisIsWhatASteministLooksLike campaign which saw 100’s of photos sent to us of supporters of gender equality in STEM. You can see all of them over on our Instagram page and in this newspaper review.
March also saw the launch of the Scottish Government’s Gender Pay Gap Action Plan, the first of its kind with strategic targets to close the gender pay gap and tackle occupational segregation across the pipeline. We worked alongside fellow organisations fighting for women’s labour market equality to make sure this action plan makes a real difference to all women across Scotland.
The world was speechless when the first image of a black hole was published, identified to be 55 million light years away in a Galaxy called M87. A “black hole” is an object in space with incredible mass packed into a very small area. All that mass creates such a huge gravitational pull that nothing can escape including light. Until now, no image had been successfully taken. One of the scientists credited with the discovery is Katie Bouman who developed the programme making the image possible.
Our ERASMUS+ funded project with partners from the Basque Country, Scotland and Amsterdam launched its online learning platform; a series of modules supporting employers across Europe to implement equality policies and activities within their companies from flexible working to positive action measures. Since launch this online series has had over 1000 participants.
We worked with Sibbald training to deliver Constructionarium – a three day immersive training programme for women studying construction or engineering at college or university. This training provided hands on experience on site building a working wind turbine. The programme was hugely well recieved and even made it into the press.
An academic study illustrated again the need for our work, when it found that women researchers were disadvantaged and less successful in securing promotions and research funding, despite being equally qualified. The study conducted by behavioural scientists from the Social and cognitive psychology laboratory (CNRS/Université Clermont Auvergne), the Laboratory of Cognitive Psychology (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université), and the University of British Columbia (Canada) found that when committees were honest and acknowledged their biases, there decisions were fairer. Read more.
A report by IPPR found that working women were twice as likely as men to lose their jobs in the near future as a consequence of advancements in automation technology; replacing their jobs in retail, social care and clerical working. At Equate Scotland, we wrote a summary and response to the report stating our recommendation for the need for heavily subsidised or free re-training opportunities for women, equipping them with industry relevant and job ready qualifications in AI.
One the first anniverary of our groundbreaking CareerHub, the only recruitment platform in Scotland which specialises in inclusive language and advertising to women, we launched a new service; the Careerhub. This service support women in STEM by assisting them to write high quality CVs and pitches to get their foot on the STEM ladder. Find out more about it.
Our CareerWise placement students made waves this year, leading project work in forestry, data analysis and app development. One of our students, Emma Carroll created the first interactive map of women accused of witchcraft. Her work even reached the New York Times! Read about it here.
After an embarassing error by NASA when the first all female spacewalk was cancelled due to a shortage of spacesuits in the right size, finally history was made this month when astronauts Mary Kowal and Jessica Bennett took part in a seven hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station.
The lack of women in STEM, rightly, made the headlines after the then UK Culture Secretary commented that a lack of women in tech development and testing was having “life threatening” consequences for women.
The gender pay gap in engineering and construction companies was found to have widened in this year’s pay gap reporting by companies according to the Ferret, Equate Scotland’s Director commented on the need for real action not simply rhetoric to tackle the gender pay gap.
This month Equate Scotland’s project in partnership with the City of Glasgow College and Sir Robert McAlpine launched the Inclusive Value toolkit, an online self assessment tool for construction companies to evaluate their workplace cultures, policies and processes, enabling them to attract, recruit and retain more diverse talent which the construction sector desperately needs.
A new study by Queen Mary University London, found that ethnic minority women are least likely to be offered platforms and speaking opportunities at scientific conferences. This is a rare study which analyses the experiences of women in science through an intersectional lens. (Look out for our report coming in early 2020 which reviews the experiences of multiple discriminations on women studying or working in STEM).
The Royal Society of Edinburgh formally launched their touring exhibition of Scotland’s women in STEM, starting at Edinburgh International Airport, a phenomenal welcome to Scotland celebrating leading women role models.
Thank you for supporting us across this year, as we continue to work to tackle the gender gap in STEM and transform workplace and academic cultures.