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The University of Beestonia Following our ‘women’s issue’ last month we received the following, picking up on some of issues raised by Mrs Prof J. Many thanks for Prof S for getting in touch and for adding her own experiences of this important issue. Think engineer, think Wallace and Gromit, James Dyson or Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Mrs Prof J’s article in issue 17 of The Beestonian made me think, because I am one of only 4/68 professors in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham who are female. I nearly didn’t write this article, because I don’t like to raise my head above the parapet for these sorts of things, but I’ve become a bit of an accidental ambassador for women in the more maledominated branches of academia. Mrs. Prof J. is right, there is a problem. Somewhere, academic women’s careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects stall. But, in response to her rallying call to “show the guys how it’s done” I thought it was worth thinking about some of

the things that could and should be done to help encourage women to enter careers in STEM, and to make sure they stay in their jobs. athenaswan.org.uk recognises the challenges in career progression faced by women in STEM, and asks institutions to demonstrate how they are supporting women’s careers. This can be tricky – how do we support women without positively discriminating towards them? When you’ve got children or other care responsibilities, it is difficult to juggle your family and your work commitments (and I’m sure I sometimes get that balance wrong). One thing that can be helpful is for employers to provide support (e.g. enabling flexible working, or providing career mentorship) to help women through their stage of life that is very important to both their family and career. One of the problems is that women aren’t naturally good at the self-belief that is required to apply for an academic promotion. Characteristics that can make women particularly skilled as researchers or managers (good

listening skills, better pastoral skills, probably less of an ego to massage (my colleagues might beg to disagree…)) might also hinder them in pursuing an ambitious career path (so they may be more modest, or not want to put themselves forwards for leadership roles). I was told on one of the excellent training courses that the University runs to support women when going through their academic career path that a male academic will try his luck with a promotion application when he has a 10% chance of success, but a female will wait until it is 90% certain before they try their luck. So we need to encourage women to push themselves forwards and perhaps to develop a thick skin when it comes to applying for competitive funding or a promotion (and perhaps revisit the promotion criteria as well). We will know there is no longer a problem when we no longer need to discuss it, when people aren’t surprised that it is my (very supportive) husband and not me who has chosen to work part time. We are making progress in the right direction, but that progress is slow

and stalling, and takes a generation or two to overcome. We need a big increase in the number of girls taking science (especially physics) at school, more to select engineering and science at University and more to stay with an academic career if we are going to see anything like equality over the next 40 years. A friend passed me a nice anecdote. “A woman academic’s successes are hers, but anything short of that is felt as a failure for half of mankind”. Prof. S MAYFEST LOGO here

On the 18th of May our colleagues East of Broadgate once again open their doors for MayFest 2013. The Beestonian’s presence at the event last year attracted so many people for this year’s that they no longer have room for us (this may not be entirely true), but it’s a fun day so we’d still encourage you to go along.

nottingham.ac.uk/mayfest

BESTonian - Beeston’s Finest: Chilwell Road, Beeston

Holding a street party on a day of snow and icy blasts of wind might seem like a daft idea. Who would choose to pound the tarmac and see the stalls over a Saturday tucked inside with the central heating turned up to Caribbean? Well, as it turns out, lots of you.

You came in droves, and stayed all day. A few of you then packed out the Hop Pole for an evening of music presented by Oxjam and compered by an increasingly tired and emotional Lord Beestonia. Thanks to all of you who came over to our stall to say hello,

and we salute those who also checked out the impressive range of shops that line the street. Each one an independent, each one ran by an enthusiast, each a little gem in its own right. It’s now crunch time for the street, as it closes to through-traffic for a year. Many people around Beeston have assumed ‘closed to through traffic’ means ‘closed’, period. Oi, naysayers, get your facts right. Chilwell Road is very much open, very much alive, and now it’s pleasantly quiet and easy to cross from pavement to pavement. The shop owners need you, and you need them. Let me explain. When the tram comes in December 2014, there is a real fear it will suck the life out of Beeston. This can be avoided if we have something unique here, something people

in Nottingham will travel west to enjoy: and what better than a parade of idiosyncratic shops, book-ended by The Crown and the sprawling arts complex that Bartons is fast becoming. A Chilwell Camden Town; a Beeston Bohemia. This is only possible if you get your collective arses down there NOW, and spend your spondoolies with vigour. Eschew the chains, shun the multi-nationals. Or be condemned to pace, hollow-eyed, around the endless aisles of souless shopping hangars.

Issue 18 of The Beestonian  

auf wiedersehen pet, uni of beestonia, bestonian - chilwell road, live below the line, little sod, once upon a time in a shed..., horace's h...

Issue 18 of The Beestonian  

auf wiedersehen pet, uni of beestonia, bestonian - chilwell road, live below the line, little sod, once upon a time in a shed..., horace's h...

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