International Women’s Day 2016: Pledge for Parity
Welcome to CEAS 8th March 2016
Hi Everyone – and thanks for coming back to the blog. Today is International Women’s Day, a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women. So that’s what we’re going to do. I have two great guest blogs for you today, and there’s little I can say to improve them. So let’s just get going. Here is the School’s Instrumentation Engineer, Marie Emerson, making her IWD inspired pledges:
“Although I work in CEAS, I’m not actually a Chemical Engineer. In fact, I studied Mechatronics at university. 10 years into my engineering career I fancied a change, but still wanted to work with automation technology. CEAS needed an Instrumentation Engineer so I made the transition from industry to academia. My role is to provide researchers and students with data acquisition and control solutions for their experiments. Day to day I work with sensors, actuators, DAQs and PLCs, and I maintain the Siemens PCS7 control system for the James Chadwick pilot hall. I enjoy my work, I’m constantly learning and I get a lot of satisfaction from implementing my engineering solutions. It’s great when my work makes a difference – such as enabling researchers to gather data more efficiently, or making a new experiment available for lab sessions.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a brilliant initiative; why not celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women? When you look at the history of women’s rights there has been much to celebrate, and many of these achievements opened doors for us that we perhaps take for granted today. There is also more progress to be made, and the IWD campaign ‘Pledge for Parity’ encourages us all to think globally and act locally to achieve gender parity within society. So what can we do as individuals? I’ve picked three pledges:
Help women and girls achieve their ambitions
Be an advocate for myself, an effective role model and sponsor.
The STEMNet Ambassador scheme is a fantastic way to act as a role model to young people, and to promote STEM careers. I’ve been an Ambassador for several years so I will volunteer for an activity to help girls build their confidence with engineering activities.
CEAS has an active Athena SWAN committee, which aims to ‘advance the careers of women in science and engineering in higher education and research’. Initially the focus was limited to academic staff, but now extends to support staff too. I’ll be attending my first meeting next week to see how I can get involved.
Challenge conscious and unconscious bias
Learn about my own biases, adjust my behaviour as needed and welcome different experiences and points of view.
I recently attended a very interesting lecture for staff on this topic! The fat white bloke (as he calls himself) recommended the Implicit Association Test for discovering unconscious biases. My favourite top tip: “look for great role models and bring them to mind before making key decisions”.
Call for gender-balanced leadership
Express that I value and expect gender-balanced leadership. Seek out leadership, sponsorship and mentoring programs, exposure to strategic roles, and integrated networks designed to help women advance.
I absolutely value the fact that The University of Manchester is led by Dame Nancy Rothwell, and this was one of the reasons I chose to work here. It’s encouraging to meet positive female role models in a range of staff positions, as well as high calibre female students who could be leaders of the future.
I try to develop my own leadership skills by meeting with my mentor periodically, the Manchester Gold Mentoring Scheme is excellent for this – available to both staff and students. I can help others develop by volunteering as a mentor myself.
Everyone can make a difference, male or female, towards a better gender balance in society. Make your own Pledge for Parity this International Women’s Day! And why don’t you let us know what it is in the comment section at the bottom of this page?“