Informatics' Equality and Diversity Blog

January 31, 2017

Learned Societies’ Group on STEM Education

Filed under: Encouraging STEM subjects,Policy — hwalker2 @ 5:07 pm

Prof Lesley Yellowlees 2The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Learned Societies’ Group (LSG) has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the draft STEM Education and Training Strategy, which closes today.

LSG is chaired by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, Head of our College of Science and Engineering (pictured).

Welcoming the Scottish Government’s commitment to STEM Education, the LSG stressed the need to ensure cohesion across all the relevant Government strategies and frameworks; including the STEM Strategy, National Improvement Framework, Making Maths Count initiative, Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce and School Governance Review.

The LSG advise that consideration should be given to the mapping of the range of STEM activity and engagement to support a better understanding of what is available and where, and, to identify duplication and/or gaps in provision and access.

While the draft sets out an extensive range of actions, identification of appropriate and measurable criteria for assessing progress will be central to realising the strategy. An implementation plan at a far more specific level of detail than that contained in the current strategy is required. It will need to make clear the success criteria, key timelines and staging posts, and who will be accountable for delivery.

Professor Yellowlees said, “A priority should be to ensure that young people look on STEM subjects as being for “people like them”. ASPIRES research shows that while most primary school age children like science, very few of them aspire to work in science. There is therefore a need to promote the message that STEM provides transferable skills that enable people to keep their career options open.”

The LSG urges the Scottish Government to be sensitive to the consequences and the messages sent to learners, parents and schools when prioritising literacy, numeracy, and health and well-being and not STEM subjects in the National Improvement Framework.

On the definition of STEM for the purposes of the Strategy, the LSG note that while the importance of Mathematics in underpinning STEM is clearly stated, using this as a definition of Mathematics is too limiting. Similarly, the strategy needs to recognise Computing Science as being distinct from the focus on digital skills. Both Mathematics and Computing Science should be reflected in the strategy as being disciplines in their own right.

With regards to the equity priority, the LSG is clear that gender stereotyping needs to be tackled across the whole school environment as responsibility for this does not rest solely with the STEM subjects. Importantly, it also extends beyond the issue of encouraging more girls into STEM.

The Strategy should also consider broader equity issues, including the participation in STEM of ethnic minorities and how geographical barriers to accessing STEM experiences can be addressed.

January 30, 2017

Girl Geek Scotland: ‘sticky floors’ workshop

Filed under: Events,Girls in STEM,Training,Uncategorized,Women in STEM — hwalker2 @ 12:12 pm

Girl Geek Scotland is a network and community for people working and studying in technology and related areas in Scotland. On the evening of Tuesday 7 February 2017, they are holding a ‘sticky floors’ workshop at Waverley Gate, Edinburgh, with speakers who work as personal coaches. The aim is to help people to think differently, to help them overcome the subconscious blocks that may be hold them back in their career (the sticky floor as opposed to the glass ceiling.)

For more information about the Sticky Floors workshop any other activities, or to sign up for their newsletter, go to the Girl Geek Scotland website.

January 26, 2017

Research Staff Promotion to Grades 7 and 8

Filed under: General — hwalker2 @ 6:05 pm

The deadline for Research Staff promotion to grade 7 and 8 is:

9am Monday 6 February 2017.

For promotion to grade 7 or 8, please follow the guidance for academic staff at: and

For promotion to grade 7 please complete:
– Job Matching Form for Grade 7
– C.V. Summary Form.

For promotion to Grade 8 please complete:
– Job Matching Form for grade 8
– C.V. Summary Form
– Full C.V.

Forms are available at:

Please use the WORD version of these forms (pdf is acceptable for full CV) and submit to Informatics HR no later than 9am Monday 6 February.

(Earlier submission would be welcome.)

Please note that, before submission to College, confirmation is required that a P&DR/annual review has been completed in the last twelve months for ALL individual cases coming forward and for ALL direct reports that the employee manages.

If you have any questions, please contact Phil Wadler and InfHR.

January 25, 2017

Are you or could you be a STEM Ambassador?

Filed under: Encouraging STEM subjects,General,Girls in STEM — hwalker2 @ 11:55 am

• Sign up for training by 10 February 2017!
• Stem Ambassadors induction, 1pm 24 February 2017, in T40, Joseph Black Building, School of Chemistry
• If you can’t make 24 Feb, there are regular induction events locally.

Stem Ambassador is a role for you if you are interested in inspiring young people and developing their interests in science, engineering and/or maths.

By signing up as a Stem Ambassador you will have the opportunity to get involved with a variety of different projects where you can engage school pupils and support teachers in the classroom.

The organisers, STEM Ambassadors, provide *full training* and PVG checks.

More information about the process can be found here on the STEM East website.

If you would like to become a Stem Ambassador, please email Heather Milton by Friday 10 February for more details about how to register online and what you need to bring to the induction session which takes place from 1pm in T40, Joseph Black Building, School of Chemistry, on Friday 24 February.

BCS gender equality discussion list

BCS Women in Computing has a new JISCMAIL address for those who wish to discuss gender equality, especially Athena SWAN, within Computer Science. The list is CYGNETS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK and the home page is

The aim is to use the list to raise issues around diversity in Computing, to look for resources, to share problems (and hopefully solutions), and so on.

Subscribers can join the list by sending an email to
Subject: Subscribe
Message: SUBSCRIBE CYGNETS Firstname Lastname

January 23, 2017

International Women’s Day Lecture

Catherine Calderwood, Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer

Catherine Calderwood, Scottish
Government Chief Medical Officer

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer (CMO), will deliver the 7th University of Edinburgh International Women’s Day Lecture on Wednesday 8 March 2017, 6-7pm (doors open from 5.30pm). Venue: George Square Lecture Theatre, George Square. The theme will be ‘The Importance of Women.’

Dr Calderwood will discuss her career path – enablers and challenges over the course of her successful career. She will also talk about health, particularly in relation to women’s health.

For further details / to book see the University’s Equality website at:

The event is ticketed but free.

About the speaker

Catherine Calderwood qualified from Cambridge and Glasgow universities. As a junior doctor she worked in medical specialities in Glasgow Royal infirmary and at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh before completing her specialist training in obstetrics and gynaecology and maternal medicine in SE Scotland and St Thomas’ Hospital London. She became a medical adviser to Scottish Government in 2010 and has been instrumental in the work in reducing stillbirths and neonatal deaths in Scotland and in reducing avoidable harm in maternity services. More recently her role expanded to include major trauma services and the introduction of robotic surgery for prostate cancer to Scotland. Until her recent appointment as CMO Catherine was also the National Clinical Director for maternity and women’s health for NHS England.

New Equality and Diversity Library

Filed under: Uncategorized — kvaniea @ 11:07 am

arrow 20170119_112220We have started a small library of Equality and Diversity books, which are located in MF1, on the top shelf of the furthest bookcase (by the balcony overlooking the Atrium). Please feel free to borrow a book – and please return it when you’re finished. If you could sign your name / leave a comment on the short form inside the cover, that will help us to track usage and usefulness.

At the moment the focus of most of the books is gender but we are interested in developing resources to reflect all nine of the Equality Act’s “protected characteristics” – age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation.

So if you can recommend a good book, or would like to donate one, please email Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator Kami Vaniea.

Here’s what’s on offer meanwhile:

Why Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation – and Positive Strategies for Change
By: Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
Summary: Outcome of extensive research on how women and men negotiate differently and how that leads to a pay gap. Also discusses how to negotiate effectively as a woman or other minority.

Ask For It: How women can use the power of negotiation to get what they really want
By Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
Summary: How to negotiate for all sorts of things as a woman. This is an extension of the earlier book by the same authors with more how-to and less research on why.

Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in computing
By Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher
Summary: Outcome of a multi-year research study at Carnegie Mellon University following a set of female computer science majors to understand what their experiences were like and what barriers they faced. For a while it was given as a gift to all incoming CMU students as a way of helping them understand that they are not alone in their experiences.

Recoding Gender: Women’s changing participation in computing
By Janet Abbate
Summary: Historical take on the role of women in computer science following the stories of early pioneers in the field.

Gender Codes: Why women are leaving computing
Edited By Thomas J. Misa (multiple authors)
Summary: Collection of essays by multiple experts on gender issues in education and the office. Looks at both historical context and explores different approaches that have been taken in the past.

Computer Boys Take Over (History of Computing)
By Nathan L. Ensmenger
Summary: History of computer science focusing on how we went from nearly 100% of computer programmers being women to the much smaller number today.

Whistling Vivaldi: How stereotypes affect us and what we can do (Issues of our time)
By Claude Steele
Summary: Research on unconscious bias and how it is impacted by issues like stereotypes and identity.

Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University
By Carol Frieze, and Jeria Quesenberry
Summary: Discussion of research and approaches taken at Carnegie Mellon University since the early 1990’s. What worked, what didn’t, and how they are seeing student attitudes change over time.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
By Sheryl Sandberg
Summary: Controversial book on how to succeed as a woman in technology written by the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook.

January 16, 2017

Screening of “Pretty Curious Girls in STEM” campaign

Filed under: Girls in STEM — hwalker2 @ 4:21 pm

Over the weekend, at least one Edinburgh cinema was showing EDF’s Pretty Curious video, which was part of a campaign launched in 2015 with the stated aim of inspiring teenage girls to consider careers in STEM.

The campaign has attracted criticism, both for its name and for the decision, last year, to announce a 13 year-old-boy as the winner of its PrettyCuriousChallenge competition.


January 12, 2017

Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture

Nominations are open for the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award, given each year to a woman for their outstanding work in any field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The recipient of the £30k award is expected to spend a proportion of the grant on implementing a project to raise the profile of women in STEM in their host institution and/or field of expertise in the UK.

Deadline for nominations: 6pm 30 January 2017.

Resources on our website

Last year, the School developed a new section of its website, called Work with us which includes current staff vacancies, Equality and Diversity information (not least details of our Athena SWAN Silver Award) and links to University work-related policies.

The Equality and Diversity section includes a useful list of resources around:

  • challenging preconceptions
  • women in science and technology
  • equality legislation
  • ‘protected characteristics’ – age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation.

Why not have a browse?

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