Athena Swan Awareness Raising Day
University of Kent Welcomes Leading Female Scientist to Event to Promote Careers for Women in the Sciences
The University was delighted to welcome Professor Dame Julia Higgins FRS DBE FREng to give the keynote address at an event held on 14 September 2011 to promote the University's commitment to achieving the Athena Swan Bronze award. Professor Higgins is not only one of the UK's most esteemed scientists but she has also been instrumental in furthering the careers of women in the sciences.
Dame Julia is an advisory committee member and former chair (1998-2003) of the Athena Project, which aims for the advancement of women in science, engineering and technology (SET) in Higher Education and was also chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council between 2003 and 2007.
Dame Julia spoke about her own experiences throughout her career and emphasised the value of asking questions to promote cultural change. The event also included a talk from Sarah Hawkes, National Coordinator for Athena Swan who discussed the evolution and increasing importance of the Athena Swan Charter across the Higher Education Sector. Over 50 staff attended this awareness raising event including the Deputy Vice Chancellor. The event concluded with three concurrent discussion sessions for staff at the University who shared their experiences of promotion; career development and returning to work following a career break.
The University has made a commitment to achieve the Athena Swan Bronze Award by 2013.
The Athena Swan scheme exists to promote good employment practice for women in science in higher education, an aim strongly supported by the University.
A Women in (Bio)Sciences Day took place two days after the Athena Swan Event (one of the various iniaitives underway to support women in science).