Initiative seeks to inspire future women scientists
Easter Bush campus challenges gender bias with outreach activities to promote the message that science is for all.
Women working in a variety of science roles across the Easter Bush Campus are helping to raise awareness and aspirations of young women regarding careers in science.
The project group, led by Dr Kelly Blacklock, Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery, has developed a programme of events and resources to promote the diversity of roles available, and highlight that a career in science is open to anyone, regardless of gender.
Their efforts aim to challenge stereotypes and help address the under-representation of girls studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in schools, colleges and universities, encouraging more women towards careers in science.
Inspiring future scientists
Over the past month, women scientists from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute, working with the campus’s Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre, have delivered interactive, live online and face-to-face sessions to pupils from primary schools across the Lothians and Fife.
These sessions have given more than 250 children an opportunity to meet and chat to women who work in science and learn more about the opportunities for careers in science.
These sessions have been well received and enjoyed by students and scientists alike.
The group has also established a dedicated website to highlight to young people that a career in science can be fun, challenging, rewarding and accessible to everyone.
The website hosts short videos from women in a variety of science roles across the Easter Bush Campus, speaking about their career paths and what they love about their jobs.
It also hosts an online exhibition showcasing women, past and present, from different backgrounds and in varied science roles, highlighting their contributions to the world.
Redressing the balance
Those involved in the initiative hope that they can provide inspiration to girls and women who might consider a science career. Presently, only 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women.
Every day, I am grateful to be surrounded by inspirational women and girls who strive to lift each other up. I want women and girls of all ages to join us in exploring and addressing some of the problems faced by the world today. If you have an inquisitive mind and a passion for adventure, then science is for you.
To mark this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February, a live online celebration featured short talks from women researchers, veterinary surgeons and professors from across the Easter Bush campus.
More than 500 pupils from 11 schools across the UK attended the event, which will be available to view on the School’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science webpages.
The group plans to develop the programme further with regular science-themed activities and to work with some of the schools they have engaged with to create bespoke, embedded programmes for their students. The group is also working to offer one-hour interactive training workshops for schoolteachers to support teaching science to Primary 7 or composite class pupils.
About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than eight hundred staff and almost fourteen hundred students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.
The School comprises:
We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.