Students, alumni and Fellows are invited to join two Trinity discussions about recruiting and enabling women to thrive at all levels of higher education.
On 9 March, Trinity Women’s Network celebrates International Women’s Day with a women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) event in London. Speakers include alumnae Clare Wildfire and Dr Amanda Talhat, and Trinity Fellow, Professor Valerie Gibson, who is Head of the High Energy Physics Research Group at the Cavendish Laboratory.
They will discuss what has inspired them in their careers and where they think the next ‘big discovery’ in STEM might emerge from. The event, at Elsevier’s London office, is open to alumni and their guests, and current Trinity students and Fellows.
Clare Wildfire studied Maths at Trinity and currently works for Mott MacDonald where she leads the European arm of the engineering firm’s cities initiative.
Dr Amanda Talhat followed her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Now at Pepsico, her main focus is developing the technical capabilities of the analytical team, and helping to drive innovation via experimental research.
Professor Gibson, who is the School of Physical Sciences Equality & Diversity Champion at Cambridge, spearheaded the Cavendish Laboratory’s Athena Swan Gold Award in 2014. The Cavendish was the first – and remains the only – university physics department in the UK to achieve this recognition of its development of employment practices that support and further the careers of women.
Chair of TWN, Ellie Davies, is hopeful that the 9 March event will be ‘educative, inspiring, and a pleasure to attend.’ She said:
We hope that the alumnae will mingle with current students and create networks that will be supportive, creative and developmental, to give our scientists and mathematicians that much more support and inspiration for the future – so that in 10, 20, 50 years, Trinity’s Nobel Prize tally is even larger, and much more gender balanced!
Meanwhile, on 16 March, Trinity’s Winstanley will be the setting for a documentary screening and discussion about gender equality – the event is free and open to all. TCSU Women’s Officer for 2016, Raniyah Qureshi, and Trinity FemSoc President, Beth Cloughton, will be in conversation with alumna Su-Mei Thompson, CEO of The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong, which commissioned She Objects, a documentary against gender stereotyping.
Beth Cloughton said she found the work of The Women’s Foundation inspiring because it addressed the empowerment of women in many different ways, from targeting young girls to improve their self-esteem, to tech workshops and mentoring schemes.
The Foundation acknowledges the variety of ways women are disadvantaged and works to improve these through empowerment programmes, and this is what inspires me most. The Foundation’s work is really important in making women visible in male-dominated spaces, especially with actions such as the 30% Club – such groups will ensure that gender parity in the workplace will be achieved!
Trinity Fellow, Dr Walker Gore, said the discussion was sure to be wide-ranging and thought provoking. She said:
As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of women being admitted to the college, we wanted to organise an event that allows us to look forwards as well as backwards, providing an opportunity to discuss our hopes for the future as well as celebrating how far we’ve already come. We’re looking forward to hearing more about the fantastic work of The Women’s Foundation, from combatting media sexism and lifting women out of poverty, to promoting women’s roles in senior management and the boardroom.
We’re looking forward to hearing more about the fantastic work of The Women’s Foundation, from combating media sexism and lifting women out of poverty, to promoting women’s roles in senior management and the boardroom. We hope to bring some of the debates Su-Mei has engaged with in Asia to Trinity: what more can we do to enable women to thrive here, as students, fellows and members of staff? How can we make the College a truly nurturing and egalitarian place to live and work?
In the current political climate, it is especially important to keep women’s rights high on the agenda, and I hope that this event will provide a starting point for an ongoing debate, for all members of college, about how we can make sure that we keep moving forwards, rather than losing ground.