Winchester Women Graduates

British Federation of Women Graduates

News

 

For our 2018-9 year we are delighted to have Dr Reefat Drabu as our new President and Mrs Maureen Sleigh as Secretary. 

Mrs Ann Scott continues as Membership Secretary, as does Dr Sheila Stevens as Treasurer. 

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October: Joint meeting with the University Of Winchester

Here is a summary of the talk given by Eleanor Scott-Allen. This is based on her research into inequalities in STEM for her Masters degree at Portsmouth University.  She says: 

We've known for several decades now that there are not women enough in science but we've yet to fully comprehend the complex reasons why. Throughout my research, I was struck by one statistic in particular: Girls now outperform boys in STEM subjects at GSCE but boys enter higher STEM education at almost three times the rate. Only 24% of the UK's STEM workforce are women, leaving us unprepared for the future.
 
I recently presented a talk on my undergraduate and postgraduate research focused on exploring one of the root causes, stereotypes, and how social psychology can be used to change those same stereotypes for the better. The first study looked at gender representation in BBC science documentaries, putting a microscope to the UK's unique media context and showing that a gender gap of 3 men to every 1 woman exists in their educational programming. Through my talk, I explained the psychological impacts of representation (or a lack thereof) on young girls as they choose their future careers. 
 
But there are also barriers that continue into the workplace. Women leave STEM careers at a higher rate than men, leaving us to wonder how these structural issues can be addressed. I turned to social psychology and Social Identity Theory. Using the idea that scientists share a communal, social identity, I was able to explore what types of people could be influential in encouraging endorsement of new group norms. This has been shown to leave to long term belief change such as challenging stereotypes. I
 
conducted an experiment which explored whether prototypical, the degree to which a person embodies the ideals of a social group, could play such a role in stereotype change by increasing endorsement of a new workplace equality policy. I found that prototypicality, regardless of gender, significantly increased agreement and endorsement of these policies. These findings are still in need of further study but prototypicality could offer new ways to create more inclusive work environments that increase retention of women in scientific fields.

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