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Scottish Parliament celebrates gender equality work

Reception at Scottish Parliament highlights University of Edinburgh’s international work on advancing gender equality in science.

Group picture of the speakers.
The speakers met two AWARD fellows.

 A celebration of the University of Edinburgh’s work to advance gender equality in science in a number of African countries has been hosted by the Scottish Parliament.

Efforts by the Roslin Institute have involved collaborating with African women in agricultural research and training African female scientists to deliver engaging school workshops.

The work aims to help address inequalities in the research community in a range of African countries, in which women are underrepresented, with a detrimental impact on research.

At the event on 29 October, Christina McKelvie, MSP Minister for Older People and Equalities, praised the importance of these efforts for Scotland and internationally.

Fellowship opportunities

A fellowship programme organised by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), is helping to develop the scientific skills of newly appointed fellows. It is supported by scientists at the Roslin Institute, the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health and the John Innes Centre.

The scheme was announced at the celebration by AWARD Deputy Director Michele Mbo’o-Tchouawou.

We need more efforts to increase awareness, to forge interest in science, to build capacity and to increase the exposure of our fellows to different cutting-edge opportunities. All young girls need to be interested is for somebody to motivate them to think that science is something they can do, that they can succeed.

Michele Mbo’o-Tchouawou, AWARD Deputy Director

Training for African schools

The African Schools Outreach Programme of the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network (IVVN), based at the Roslin Institute, provides scientists across Africa with training and resources to hold school workshops and inspire pupils to join the next generation of scientists.

Dr Nicola Stock and Jayne Quoiani, public engagement professionals at the Roslin Institute and Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre, received support from the programme to develop a new schools workshop, entitled ‘Rabies Lab’, and deliver training to female scientists from Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Kenya and South Africa.

Equality work recognition

The Roslin Institute holds a gold Athena SWAN award – the highest category of the accolade – in recognition of its efforts to promote gender equality and address challenges for women in science.

A much lower proportion of female scientists than male progress to the most senior levels in academia.

The Athena SWAN Charter provides a framework for efforts at a local and a national level to support staff towards achieving their potential. Roslin is one of two departments in Scotland, and 12 across the UK, to hold a gold award.

We need to change the narrative on science, to encourage today’s young girls to be the female professors of the future in Edinburgh, Scotland and globally.

Congratulations to the Roslin Institute – you have done an amazing job getting the Athena SWAN Gold award – you are a trailblazer and I offer congratulations on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Christina McKelvie MSP Minister for Older People and Equalities

** The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and it is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. **

Related links

Roslin scientists will support women agricultural scientists in Ethiopia

Inspiring future women scientists in Africa

The Roslin Institute receives Athena SWAN Gold award