From education to employment

Global campaign comes to Plymouth to raise profile of women in science

Female scientists from the University of Plymouth are supporting a global initiative which aims to empower women working in science.

500 Women Scientists was launched in the United States following the 2016 Presidential election and local pods have since been established across the world.

Dr Zoë Mildon and Dr Caroline Palmer, from the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, are now coordinating a Plymouth Pod with a focus on outreach, tackling gender bias and providing a support network for women and non-binary people in science.

Now, in conjunction with Women in STEM Plymouth (WISP), they are hosting their first event. Taking place on Wednesday 21 November, there will be a screening of My Love Affair with the Brain, an hour-long film about the life and work of Dr Marian Diamond.

Considered one of the founders of modern neuroscience, Dr Diamond conducted analysis on the brain of Albert Einstein and revealed that our brains can change with experience over the course of our lifetimes.

The documentary, made by six-time Emmy nominated Luna Productions, brings the viewer right into the heart of science and into a deeper understanding of your own brain.

Lecturer in Earth Sciences Dr Mildon, and Visiting Research Fellow Dr Palmer, said:

“Science has historically been considered by many to be a male discipline. But with growing numbers of women now working in the field that is fast changing. Promoting the role of women in science and raising their profile has never been more important and the international support for 500 Women Scientists is recognition of that.

“Since we created the local pod, we have received great support from women working in science. But we want to encourage everyone, not just women, to attend our first event because it is crucial that we all work together now and in the future.

Since it was established, over 20,000 women of STEM and supporters from more than 100 countries have signed in support of 500 Women Scientists.

They have pledged to build an inclusive scientific community dedicated to training a more diverse group of future leaders in science and to use the language of science to bridge divides and enhance global diplomacy.

Dr Lorna Dallas, Chair for Women in STEM Plymouth and a graduate of the University, said:

“One of our primary aims at WISP is to promote the fantastic women working in science, technology, engineering and maths in our local area. So we were thrilled to learn about the new 500 Women Scientists pod at the University of Plymouth and are excited to be collaborating with them on this event. While it’s true that women are getting closer and closer to equality every day, there’s still a long way to go. Most people can still only name one or two famous female scientists but we hope the screening of My Love Affair with the Brain goes someway to changing that.

“WISP has also just launched a fantastic new project – 400 Women – celebrating the fact that 24% of the UK’s STEM workforce is female, and focusing on 400 fantastic women working in STEM right here in Plymouth. With that many amazing role models, we really hope we can inspire the next Dr Diamond out there.”

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