Monitor our numbers
Monitoring is not about establishing quotas, it’s about removing an unconscious bias. We’ve nearly eradicated overt dinosaur sexism but research studies show consistently subconscious biased behaviour in many subject areas. We need to know ourselves and our biases to avoid lapsing back into hiring in our own image.
Mentor our people and make sure the best are applying
The only thing that marked out Edinburgh as different, and the point that came up repeatedly in interviews is the effect that mentoring can have. Of course everyone’s busy and academics are mostly introverts, but communicating with our growing young talents is crucial. Seek mentoring. On average women wait until they’re 120 per cent ready but men wait until 80 per cent. If our youngsters perceive themselves not to be good enough, even if it’s not true, we’ve already lost them. Many hiring panels could also benefit from a little mentoring.
Create a workplace that supports everyone and allows flexibility
Creating a workplace where everyone wants to work is something every civilised society should desire, not just the odd chemistry department. Allowing human beings a little flexibility to deal with all the messy parts of their lives should allow our brains the space to come up with even better science.
Reclaim the meaning of feminism
Are you a feminist? the question that wrapped both male and female Chemical Imbalance interviewees in knots. Everyone was in agreement on all the other difficult themes that were probed, but hardly anyone admitted to being a feminist, even rational scientists. Everyone needs to be able to both call themselves one, whatever sort that may be, and be proud of it. There is enough power to go round.
Watch the short 'are you a feminist' outtake reel.
the ECU's Athena Swan Charter | Equate Scotland | The Royal Society of Chemistry Inclusion and Diversity | WISE campaign | The Royal Society of Edinburgh Women in STEM report | The Royal Society Diversity in Science | Close the Gap