Hertfordshire award for challenging gender bias in science

The University has been awarded ‘Juno Practitioner’ status by the Institute of Physics

The University of Hertfordshire’s School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics (PAM) is the first institution from the University Alliance group to be awarded ‘Juno Practitioner’ status by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

The Juno award recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in physics and addressing the under-representation of women in this area, by establishing better practice for both women and men.

The University set up the PAM Equality Committee in 2013 to challenge inequalities and offer support to women studying in this very male-dominated field. The committee holds events, workshops and informal meetings for female students in a bid to address equality issues. It consists of representatives from academic and professional staff, PhD students and undergraduates.

One of the committee’s representatives is Nancy Hine, who is also a student at Hertfordshire studying for her PhD in Astrophysics. Nancy said: “I think there are two main areas that need addressing to achieve equality in physics careers in the UK. The first is on the outreach side, encouraging more students from underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities as well as women, to take Physics at GCSE/A-level/degree level. The second is to ensure that we address the barriers that can hold back underrepresented groups once they have completed their PhD. I am really pleased that the University of Hertfordshire is taking the steps to beat this gender inequality on campus.”

Commenting on the award, the Dean of School, Professor Sean Ryan, said: ‘This is wonderful news. It’s a tremendous boost in the School to know that our efforts so far have been recognised, and will strengthen our resolve to push ahead with promoting women in physics’.

The Practitioner status will be in place for two years and the School will submit an application to upgrade to Champion status in November 2016.





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