THE LOOKING GLASS
Focus on women www.facebook.com/TheLookingGlass2012
CONTENTS SPECIAL ISSUE: FOCUS ON WOMEN
FOCUS ON WOMEN INSIDE 11 Editorial: Accepting the status quo 2 Welcome 3 Comment: Prof. Jim Orford on “Gambling; Should it be a concern in the substance abuse context?” 5 News 7 Special Report: All opposed - protestors speak out against the DSM-5 29 On the couch with Prof. Susan Lea
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Features 13Women who have shaped mental health 24 Featured blog 25 Equality at work - society or psychology? Interviews 16 Athena SWAN 17 Interviews with the Self Assessment Team 27 ScienceGrrl
he front cover of this issue displays the female professors who work here at the IoP and have been featured in a special photographic exhibition displayed outside the Wolfson lecture theatre for all to see. This exhibition and related events aim to champion and celebrate the achievements of female researchers at the Institute, and it got us at The Looking Glass thinkingâ€Ś
from them. We hope that the interviews that we have carried out with a range of academics here at the IoP can provide motivation and inspiration to all our readers.
We also have some other features such as a comment from Professor Jim Orford, who responded to an article we published in our last issue. We also have our regular news page, as well as a special report What are the issues that face women who and interviews from the DSM-V protests aim for an academic career in science? that were held outside the institute. What help and support is provided for So, we find ourselves at Issue Three at them? How have the women whose faces adorn the front of this magazine reached the end of August. MSc students will have the heights that they have, and what can completed their exams and dived into disbe learnt from them? We hope to raise a sertations. First year September start number of questions, and perhaps an- PhD students have submitted their upswer a few in our special â€˜Focus on Wom- grade and no doubt several of you further along in your studies will have written up enâ€™. and are contemplating submission. WhatI think the great number of inspirational women we have here at the IoP is a re- ever recent achievements and milestones source that young female researchers you may have reached, why not take a need to tap, and that should be nurtured break from work with The Looking Glass and developed, inspiring new generations and join us as we delve into psychiatry, of girls to go into STEM subjects. Howev- psychology and mental health. er, their research and their work is inspiring regardless of their gender and so young men and women alike can learn
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COMMENT By Professor Jim Orford
In our last issue Analucia Alegria wrote about gambling problems in those who abuse substances. Here Jim Orford, Emiritus Professor of Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of Birmingham and founder of Gambling Watch UK, gives his take on the subject. “Gambling; Should it be a concern in the substance abuse context?” Yes, it most certainly should! It may still be difficult for some people to accept that an activity such as gambling, which is not a drug, can be addictive. But the idea that addiction is confined to drug addiction rests on an outdated concept of what addiction is. The old idea that the core symptoms of addiction are drug tolerance and withdrawal effects started to look insufficient when cocaine arrived alongside heroin as one of the drugs causing most concern in the 1980s. Gambling fits perfectly into the more up-todate concept of addiction as a disorder of habit associated with an abnormally strong ‘incentive motivational state’ (Orford, 2001; West, 2006). The operant learning basis of addiction is clear in the case of gambling. Take gambling machines, which are particularly habit forming. They are thought to have high ‘addiction potential’ because they allow fast, repetitive play, and ‘pay out’ on a ‘random reinforcement’ schedule. Technological ‘advances’ have increased that potential greatly by, for example, taking full advantage of the secondary reinforcing value of light and colour effects, sounds and other devices for drawing attention to winning, providing players with multiple experiences of ‘near misses’ and ‘losses disguised as wins’ (i.e. ‘wins’ that are smaller than the stake), and increasing the ‘illusion of control’ (Schüll, 2012; Jensen et al., 2013). Machine gambling has now taken over as the most profitable form of gambling for the industry. Meanwhile internet gambling is also on
‘feminisation of gambling’, whilst regulating it in the interest of public health is proving difficult (Gainsbury, 2012). Emotional and cognitive elements are important as for all addictions. Research has repeatedly found substantial increases in bodily indicators of arousal, such as increas-
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“It may still be difficult for some people to accept that an activity such as gambling, which is not a drug, can be addictive”
“The impact of
es in heart rate, during gambling. But, like alcohol, gambling is a versatile mood modifier.
stress, worries or depression. Some people talk of the ‘buzz’ gambling gives them, while
on family mem-
person who has developed an addiction has become a ‘biased information processor’ when
bers, in financial,
the capacity to grab attention, occupy thoughts and control memory in a way that maintains
emotional and rela-
of cognitive biases or false beliefs held particularly by people with gambling problems.
tional terms, can be devastating”
As well as acting as a stimulant it can also serve as a way of coping, temporarily, with others speak of their gambling as an ‘anaesthetic’ or ‘hypnotic’. Many studies show that a it comes to the objects of his or her addiction and cues associated with it, which now have the habit. This is particularly relevant in the case of gambling which lends itself to a number Some of this biased thinking occurs at a conscious level but much of it is automatic and unconscious. Work on neuroscience and gambling is also a growing area and studies have now shown, for example, that uncertainty about the receipt of a reward, winning money on a gambling game, and experiencing a ‘near miss’ during a simulated machine gambling game, all produce effects in the midbrain dopamine system which has been shown to be
important for understanding drug habits and which is known to be involved in the control of motivation and emotion. There should be much better access to advice and treatment. Although some progress has been made on that score (for example, the first NHS Problem Gambling Clinic set up in London, and the GamCare counselling and helpline services) the availability of treatment and advice for gambling problems is still unacceptably thin and patchy considering that adult prevalence in Britain is very similar to the prevalence of problems relating to illicit drug consumption (in the region of 6 to 9 per 1000 of the population; Wardle et al. 2010). I agree there should also be improved screening for gambling problems in all substance misuse services but also in all mental health services and in services serving other vulnerable groups such as offenders and the homeless and those with continuing debt problems. However, the majority of people who get into trouble with gambling are not in those particularly high risk groups and progress on identification of gambling problems will only be made when frontline and primary care professionals are much more aware of such problems than they are now. A vitally important aspect of addiction, often neglected, is the impact on family members and the help they need, both in their own right and in order to best help their addicted relatives. The impact of gambling problems on family members, in financial, emotional and relational terms, can be devastating (Velleman et al. 2013) and screening for health problems caused by gambling problems in the family is also important. My main recommendation, however, is that gambling and the harm associated with it should be viewed as a public health issue. It follows that there should be a major role in government for the Department of Health (DoH), which is not happening at present, and for Public Health England. Lead government responsibility rests with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is not, in my experience, competent to consider the health aspects of gambling and problem gambling. The DoH must be asked to play a part.
References: Gainsbury, S. Internet Gambling: Current Research Findings and Implications, 2012. New York: Springer. Jensen, C., Dixon, M., Harrigan, K., Sheepy, E., Fugelsang, J. and Jarick, M. Misinterpreting ‘winning’ in multiline slot machine games. International Gambling Studies, 2013, 13(1): 112-26. Orford, J. Excessive Appetites: A Psychological View of Addictions, 2001. Chichester:Wiley-Blackwell (2nd ed).
More details of my views on this subject can be found on the Gambling Watch UK website (www.gamblingwatchuk.org) and in my book, An Unsafe Bet? The Dangerous Rise of Gambling and the Debate We Should Be Having (WileyBlackwell, 2011).
Schüll, N.D. Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, 2012. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Velleman, R., Cousins, J. and Orford, J. The effects of problem gambling on family members, in S. George and H. BowdenJones (eds.), A Clinician’s Guide to Working with Problem Gamblers, 2013. London: The Royal College of Psychiatrists (in press). Wardle, H., Moody, A., Spence, S. et al. British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010, 2010. London: The Stationery Office. West, R. Theory of Addiction, 2006. Oxford: Blackwell.
News and Events Protests at the IoP Amid much furore and inflated arguments and debate, on 18th May 2013 the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM -5, was released. The DSM has been referred to as the psychiatrist’s bible and lists psychiatric disorders and their symptoms, with treatment recommendations. It was hard for anyone in the
psychiatric field to miss the publicity around this event. Prior to its publication, the DSM-5 was greatly criticised, with 13,000 people signing a petition calling for outside review of the document. The British Psychological Society has expressed a number of criticisms, suggesting that the document risks medicalization of normal reactions to
experiences, that may re- webpages for more details). quire support but do not In response to this event, a constitute mental disorder. protest was held outside of In order to provide a forum the main IoP building, by for this debate, the IoP held SOAP, an organisation that challenges current psychiata two day conference at ric practice in the UK and which several members of abroad. For an in depth look the DSM-5 Task Force spoke, at the protest, see our Spealong with various promi- cial Report on the next page. nent professors of psychology, psychiatry and mental health (see the KCL news
Sharing stories to stop stigma If you logged on to a dating website and found a good looking man or woman, who had similar interests to you and wanted the same things in life but also declared in their advert that they had suffered mental health issues, would you want to meet up with them? Various scenarios such as this, set up by Time to Change, have shown time and again that stigma still exists for those experiencing mental illness. SAPPHIRE is a five year NIHR-funded programme of research, spearheaded by Professor Graham Thornicroft, investigating stigma
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and discrimination in mental health (see their website at http://www.sapphire.iop.kcl. ac.uk/SAPPHIRE%20about. html). On 4th July 2013, a ‘star -studded’ summit was held to present their findings so far. SAPPHIRE focused on the effects of stigma and discrimination on access to mental and physical healthcare, and employment. A panel of five celebrity guests, including Charles Walker MP, Kevan Jones MP, footballer Clarke Carlisle and, of course, Frank Bruno MBE discussed disclosure and their own struggle with mental illness. In addition,
Health Minister Norman Lamb MP spoke and over lunch, a photography slide show and art exhibition were held. The conference highlighted the importance of contact to reduce stigma, as well as considering the challenge of disclosing mental illness to family, friends, potential partners and employers and this was represented in its theme – ‘Sharing stories to stop stigma’. There was also a presence of the two major mass media campaigns against stigma and discrimination towards mental illness – Time to Change and
Scotland’s See Me. Whilst public awareness of mental illness is arguably at its highest and campaigns to reduce discrimination towards those diagnosed with a mental health problem are run up and down the country, it is clear that stigma is a problem that remains to be dealt with. Programmes of research such as SAPPHIRE are likely to play an important part in the solution to this problem. Look out for the full findings from SAPPHIRE, which are currently at various stages of publication.
PR & Marketing intern (one post - unpaid) Opportunity: iConcipio has one vacancy for an individual who is interested in managing our social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Benefits: The successful applicant will benefit from getting real experience of handing the social media of a dynamic start-up business and work alongside coworkers in the company to deliver this task effectively. This opportunity will give you the chance to develop and lead social media initiatives and thus gain valuable professional work experience and build solid skills for a career in PR and Marketing. Person Specification: English native speaker with excellent verbal and written and communication skills Previous experience in managing social media profiles Psychological knowledge is desirable Good organizational skills and multi-tasking ability within tight deadlines Ability to consistently produce high quality work (strong attention to detail) Enthusiastic and passionate about working on a project that can bring about change to students’ wellbeing Self-motivated, hardworking and reliable Committed to the goals of iConcipio and interested in working in a start-up company. Web developer intern (one post - unpaid) Opportunity: iConcipio has one Web developer vacancy for an individual who is interested in developing our company’s website and provide relevant information to our customers. Benefits: The successful applicant will receive real experience of developing the website for a dynamic start-up business and work alongside our graphic designer and other co-workers to design and evolve our website. This opportunity will give them the chance to gain valuable professional work experience and enrich their portfolio in order to further their career. Person Specification: Previous experience developing websites using standard technology Good organisational skills and multitasking ability within tight deadlines Ability to consistently produce high quality work, with particular emphasis on attention to detail Enthusiastic and passionate about their work Self-motivated, hardworking and reliable Committed to the goals of iConcipio and interested in working in a start-up company Psychologists (3 posts - unpaid) Opportunity: iConcipio has vacancies for psychologists with clinical or counselling experience. Benefits: The successful applicants will lead or participate in projects aiming to promote the wellbeing in students in Higher Education. Person Specification Studying or holding a degree in Psychology or related discipline Practical experience in the field of Clinical or Counselling Psychology Excellent verbal and written communication and analytical skills Good organizational skills and multi-tasking ability within tight deadlines Ability to consistently produce high quality work (strong attention to detail) Enthusiastic and passionate about working on a project that can bring about change to students’ wellbeing Self-motivated, hardworking and reliable, good team-worker with leadership qualities Committed to the goals of iConcipio Ltd and interested in working start-ups All posts are part-time appointments, available immediately. How to Apply: - Please send your CV to Patapia Tzotzoli at Patapia@iconcipio.com. Interviews and start dates by arrangement. iConcipio Ltd, 1 Gloucester Street, SW1V 2DB, London
News: Special Report All Opposed: Protestors Speak Out Against the DSM-5 Date: Tuesday 4th June Location: a cordoned off area in front of the IoP Interviews carried out and report compiled by Lindsey Hines and John Mills
s we approached the periphery of the protest we were immediately engaged by a figure offering ‘free diagnoses’. In his hands he held a large hardback emblazoned with the controversial characters: DSM-5. “We’ll diagnose you in five seconds,” he assured us, “no tests or science needed.” In the background a gravestone floated by and signs declaiming ECT warned against what might follow. Spun on a kind of diagnostic ‘wheel of fortune’ meant to convey the disorientation and powerlessness that Speak Out Against Psychiatry believe the diagnostic system creates, the DSM landed arbitrarily on Personality Disorder. “Ahh,” said a voice, prefacing the bad news, “I’m afraid there’s no cure for that. Here, I’ll make you a label.” From behind, a figure dressed as a nurse announced that it was time for medication and handed over a small cup of Smarties. Despite our polite protestations we were told refusal of medication was not allowed. Their tone was jovial, but their message was serious. This group of former patients, carers, mental health professionals and concerned members of the public are looking to challenge psychiatric practice, both in the UK and globally. Whilst the group coordinates with other like-minded groups and is part of the Occupy Psychiatry network, they remain distinctly separate from the anti-psychiatry scientology group protesting at the IoP earlier in the day. SOAP focuses on campaigning for improved treatment for people experiencing mental distress and organising protests and events which allow patients to speak about their experiences of psychiatry. As well as organising protests such as this one, SOAP aims to educate the public in ways that can help people who are suffering mental distress, to provide support and “basic human compassion” to psychiatric inpatients, and to provide advocacy and direct action on their behalf wherever it is needed.
Diagnosis in mental health!?
“...they needed to be in a caring environment, and instead they were stripped of their freedom and forced onto medication” 7
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“the real victims...are those who aren’t allowed to have that voice”
‘naughty children’ being labelled with ADHD. Open Dialogue therapy, pioneered in Finland, They argued that this is a worrying trend, with Max explained his desire for the patient to be increased diagnosis used to justify pharmaco- at the centre of discussions with relatives and logical intervention and forced treatment, doctors, with no treatment decisions hidden which they see as being fuelled by the vested from them. Some clinicians may raise an eyeinterests of the pharmaceutical industry who brow at the suggestion of allowing patients to stand to make a profit. In particular they high- interpret the experiences they are having in the lighted their unease at the increase in prescrip- way that makes sense to them – be that as a tion medications among children and adoles- religious experience, one borne of trauma or cents². However, for SOAP the key issue is the patients’ lack of involvement in the diagnostic One of the founders of the group, Max*, told us how his motivation came from his experiences working within the mental health system and his shock at the realities of inpatients residing in locked wards. He explained that he felt that “[the treatment they received] seemed to be the opposite of what they need-
process. Max argued that without blood tests or scans, psychiatric diagnoses rely too much on clinical interpretation and afford too much
one originating from their brain chemistry – or at the thought of allowing patients to disagree with the decision to use medication, but overall SOAPs central message is one of compassion: that distressed people benefit most from a caring environment.
power to clinicians: “if you’re one of those The following day we attended the Maudsley patients on a section… [then] if you disagree debate “Diagnosis Has Improved the Care of with the label you’re given, that is seen as part Those in the Mental Health System” and hapof your illness and justification for medication.” pened to run into one of the SOAP founders at
the reception. He seemed in good spirits but ed – they needed to be in a caring environ- By extending the number and scope of the was ultimately conflicted; while he found the ment, and instead they were stripped of their disorders held within its pages, the worry is debate stimulating and enjoyable, he also freedom and forced onto medication”. He as- that the DSM-5 will serve to further medicalise found it difficult to shift his sense of unease sured us that he didn’t see psychiatry as evil, the continuum of human experience and in knowing that few of the voices that evening but rather that he did not agree with forced doing so take more people out of the diagnoshad belonged to the diagnosed individuals treatment and medication and wanted to do tic process and place more power into the SOAP views itself as representing. Interestingly, something about it. Others have become in- hands of psychiatry. It is the perception of this although the motion was still carried, the devolved in the group after a negative experience inequality and lack of choice that seems to be bate itself was ultimately won by those opposof inpatient care. Cheryl, a prominent member at the heart of Max’s reasoning: “There’s not ing the motion. Maybe the opposition to diagof the group (whose own story can be found any choice for patients at the moment. We can nosis isn’t just limited to the occasional colouronline)¹, began by protesting against the use of have this debate, we can criticise the medical ful protest outside the IoP. electroconvulsive therapy before moving to model and we can laugh at the DSM-5, but the real victims of this are those who aren’t alwork with SOAP. The group’s most recent protest at the IoP
lowed to have that voice”.
coincided with the high publicity DSM-5 confer- Having grown from the experiences of mental ence. SOAP recognises that they are not a lone health service users and workers in these envivoice speaking out against the DSM, and that ronments, SOAP recognises that any changes many of their criticisms of the DSM-5 are must come from within the medical system and aligned with those being raised within the field. is campaigning for more communication and Those we spoke with emphasised their con- discussion to take place in hospitals, a reduccerns around the position of the biomedical tion in the power differential between doctors model in psychiatry and what they saw as the and patients, and a model of mental health medicalisation of normal human experience, treatment that puts patients – people – at the such as grief being regarded as depression and centre of their own care. Citing the example of 1 Cheryl’s story: http://youtube/IU0Ue1xg9m4 2 E.g. http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1263977 *Max;s name has been changed to preserve anonymity
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Focus on women
Accepting the status quo
ave you ever looked at
interest in the brain as any women did.
career ladder. Here at the IoP, two
somebody and thought
At that time, the fact that white, middle
thirds of staff at the postdoctoral fellow
‘that could be me, I want
-class, middle-aged men formed the
stage are female but this dips down to
to be her’? We all have
greater part of the scientific establish-
just one third at the very pinnacle of
ment wasn’t particularly salient to me.
the academic career. So, what is hap-
people who have inspired us and who play a part in the educational, career
pening on the ascent to the top? Why
and even personal choices we make.
Going on to study biology, and later
are women falling by the wayside?
Research has suggested that women
specialising in psychology, at university,
need same-sex role models more than
it seemed to me that girls studying sci-
It is likely that the causes are many and
men (Lockwood, 2006). Nonetheless, I
ence were everywhere. Indeed, the
varied. Some are clear – the higher like-
know that Oliver Sacks played as much
massive inequality between the gen-
lihood of a career break to have chil-
of a part in my burgeoning teenage
ders doesn’t appear until further up the
dren, for example. Some relate to our psychological differences – women are less likely to put themselves forward for promotion if they don’t meet every specification, whereas men will take a chance and apply even if they only meet a couple. Perhaps however, there still exists many of the barriers that women have always faced and the obstacles we meet are products of the stereotypes and attitudes towards women that still persist, despite the advances that appear to have been made by feminists and campaigners away from sexist attitudes. The insidious and pervasive nature of sexism in our society can be seen even in campaigns that appear on the surface to be working for equality. A good example of this was when the EU commission produced an atrociously stereotyped video to ‘encourage girls to enter
www.youtube.com/watch? v=g032MPrSjFA), in which they thought
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EDITORIAL This means that whilst practi- be as valued as that of men. This is not cal solutions to the problems suggesting that women could not potenin our institutions are a must tially beat men at their own game (in any (such as Athena SWAN, which chosen arena of life given enough time you can read about in the and opportunity) but that perhaps somefollowing pages) we must times we should take issue with the also tackle wider issues in game being played and suggest alternasociety if we are to ever tives that might be as good or better. achieve true freedom from sexism. The benefits of tackling prejudiced, demeaning and oppressive practices in our culture will trickle down into all areas of life. However, it is important to know what we are fighting for and to remember that gender equality is a contradiction of terms. What we are actually aiming images of lipsticked women looking sexy for is equity. Men and women are differwhilst they fondled test tubes was a le- ent and accepting this as fact is not coungitimate approach. Of course, they were ter to feminist rhetoric. Rather, by exwrong. Thankfully, there was an uproar pecting women to act like men in order from men and women alike, and people to be ‘equals’ or treating women as such as Heather from ScienceGrrl (read ‘equals’ only when they subscribe to more on page 28) felt compelled to act.
masculine behaviours and ideals, acts only to reinforce and sustain the prima-
Part of the problem comes from the fact cy, and perception as norm, of male valthat women, even in the 21st century are ues that have characterised our society treated as objects, in particular sexual to date. objects. A world where ‘page three’ still continues, where women prance in their In search of equality women have subunderwear to sell products (to both men scribed to masculine ideas of sexuality, and women) and where women are only work practices, drinking practices and so
It was not so very long ago that women were refused degrees purely on the basis of their gender. Stamping out such blatant discrimination was not easy but fighting the diffuse, subtle and insidious sexism that can creep in when no one is looking for it will be no easy task either. As with any kind of discrimination, it is important to avoid complacency and acceptance of common practice simply because it is common. Supporting women in their chosen careers, ensuring equality of opportunity and addressing the gender imbalance that exists at the top of many career paths are both necessary and praiseworthy. However, this must be backed by wider changes in attitudes and challenging of the status quo in order to ensure that these are not superficial or transient changes but long-lasting, paradigm shifting changes that will ensure we pass on a fairer and more equal society to those women who come after us.
employable in our media as long as they on. It continues the myth that to be masare young and attractive, to name but a culine is to be superior and to differ from Lockwood, P. (2006). “Someone like me few examples, is a world where women this is to be worthy of derision and lower can be successful”: Do college students will not be taken seriously as individual, social status. Black people do not argue need same-gender role modintelligent and worthwhile human be- for the right to be white but for their els? Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, ings. Whilst we have come a long way in own race and culture to be equally val- 36-46. women’s lib, perhaps we should not be ued. Women should not argue for the as complacent as we tend to be.
right to act like men but should fight for
their own identity and place in society to
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Women who have shaped mental health by Sapphire Weerakone
t is 1841, and Dorothea Dix, a volunteer Sunday school teacher at East Cambridge Jail, Massachusetts, is seeing for the first time that amidst the prisoners are the mentally ill, undeserving of such imprisonment, and unlikely to recover their faculties in such conditions. Here she sees women in cellars, cages, and pens, women naked and beaten, chained and forgotten. Herself a woman who has recently had a period of recuperation in England following poor physical health and possible depression, Dorothea pledges to dedicate herself to effecting change. Fortunately, her stay in England has forged relationships with reformers and Dorothea knows to whom she should write. She writes an impassioned “memorial” to the state legislature, imploring the powers that be to not only be thankful that they were not themselves afflicted by such misfortune, but to devote themselves to helping those that were. Within two years, Massachusetts lawmakers provide funds for a state asylum, and by 1845, Dorothea’s work has led to the provision of five more. Sensing that there is more work yet to be done, Dorothea returns to the UK and, in 1857, secures government funding for Scottish asylums. Over the next thirty years come two more women who will invite change in the asylums and thus the care afforded to the mentally ill. Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard, born into a religious family, is institutionalised with “brain fever” when she begins to experience headaches and to express unusual religious beliefs. Although she is declared “cured” by the asylum her strong, unconventional religious beliefs persist and following their marriage, her husband, a minister, worries that these may have an effect on his reputation. Though Elizabeth shows no real signs of mental illness, at the word of her husband and his friend, the medical superintendent, she is admitted to the asylum for a further three years. On Elizabeth’s release, he is not sufficiently satisfied that her “moral insanity” has abated and so detains her by boarding up the doors and windows of her room at home. Elizabeth contests this in a lengthy court battle and wins, though this leaves her homeless and penniless. She pens her memoir “The Prisoner’s Hidden Life” to tell her tale and with the proceeds from the sales of her book exposes the state of mental health care. As a result of Elizabeth’s advocacy, a law is passed in Illinois making a trial by jury compulsory in finding people “insane.” In the late 1880s, a budding journalist under the pen name Nellie Bly finds that the asylums have not provided the safe havens Dorothea Dix may have envisioned for the mentally ill. Feigning mental illness for investigative purposes, she is admitted for ten days to Blackwell’s Island and uncovers a multitude of abuses, including ice cold baths in dirty water, nurses smashing patients’ heads on the floor, and patients left without food for days. With each door locked individually, and over three-hundred women in residence, she is fearful that in the event of a fire, the women will be left to perish. Released on the word of her colleagues, she writes about her ten days at the asylum in an article that captures public sympathy and results in the government dedicating one million dollars extra to improving mental health care. These women were just ordinary women; not especially rich nor powerful, but all are often forgotten. Yet they each made an important contribution to the field of psychiatry. Throughout history, women have helped mould the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience, yet we continue to think of at least some of these subjects as predominantly “male”. Here we not only remember, but celebrate women, without whom we would be lacking some of our best known theories, experiments, approaches, and leaders.
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JUST A FEW OF THE WOMEN WITHOUT WHOM PSYCHIATRY/PSYCHOLOGY/ PSYCHOTHERAPY WOULD NOT BE THE SAME Mary Whiton Calkins (b. 1863; Connecticut, USA) WHAT DID SHE DO? Whiton Calkins was required to study psychology for a year after being offered a position as a psychology teacher at the school where she taught Greek. With some support from her father she was able to convince Harvard to allow her to sit in on psychology lectures, and later to be admitted as “a guest” to the university. Despite meeting the course criteria, Whiton Calkins was refused a degree on the basis of her gender. During her time at Harvard, she invented the paired-associate test, which involved participants viewing a series of numbers with paired colours, then testing their recall of colour-number pairs. This was published by Titchener who took credit for its conception, and subsequent use in studying memory. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Aside from her contributions to the field of memory via her paired-associate test, and the psychology of self, she was the first female president of the APA.
Nancy Andreasen (b. Nebraska, USA) WHAT DID SHE DO? Andreasen is a neuropsychiatrist and neuroscientist who has contributed to our understanding of schizophrenia and is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on this disorder. She has also been recognised for conducting the first modern empirical study linking creativity with bipolar illness. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Andreasen can be credited with being one of the leaders in the development of the concept of negative symptoms in schizophrenia and the recognition that these can often be more disabling than psychotic or “positive” symptoms.
Temple Grandin (b. 1947; Massachusetts, USA) Uta Frith (b. 1941, Rockenhausen, Germany) WHAT DID SHE DO? Grandin has provided the world with a unique insight into the experiences of people with autism by talking about her own thoughts, feelings, strengths, and challenges. She has also become a role model for people with autism and challenged popular views of autism as a disability by being highly successful in the world of animal science and cattle handling. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Grandin is considered the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world, and her life and achievements have been recorded in writing and documentaries. In 2010 she was listed in the “Heroes” category of the Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world.
WHAT DID SHE DO? Uta is a world renowned expert on autistic spectrum disorders, and has applied neurocognitive approaches to neurodevelopmental disorders. She is a prolific author and has contributed to our understanding of autism and dyslexia. She was one of the first to challenge the concept of ‘refrigerator mothers’. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Uta Frith popularised the concept of “theory of mind” in autism and was one of the initiators of the study of Asperger syndrome in the UK.
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Elizabeth Loftus (b.1944; Los Angeles, USA)
Melanie Klein (b.1882; Vienna, Austria-Hungary) WHAT DID SHE DO? Klein was a founder of psychoanalysis, and one of the first to apply it to children, arguing that children’s first relationships are of particular importance. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Klein created the therapeutic technique known as ‘Play Therapy’, which influences child psychology even today. Kleinian psychoanalysis continues to be one of the major schools of thought in the field of psychoanalysis
WHAT DID SHE DO? Loftus is an American cognitive psychologist specialising in human memory. She is best known for her work on false memories, misinformation and the unreliability of eyewitness memories, using her ‘Lost in the Shopping Mall’ experiment to demonstrate just how vivid and detailed a false memory can be. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Without Loftus’ work we would not understand the malleability of memory and more innocent people would be jailed on the basis of false or incorrect memories.
Mary Ainsworth (b. 1913; Ohio, USA)
WHAT DID SHE DO? Ainsworth developed an interest in maternal-infant attachments early in her career and worked alongside John Bowlby at the Tavistock Clinic researching this bond, before conducting similar investigations in Uganda. On her return to the USA she developed her famous ‘Strange Situations’ assessment, designed to measure attachments between mothers and children by monitoring children’s reactions to being with their mother in a room, then left alone by their mother, encountering a stranger whilst alone, and being reunited with their mother. This led Mary to conclude that there were three main styles of attachment: secure, anxious-avoidant, and anxious-resistant. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Attachment remains an important theory today in psychiatry, psychology, education, social work, and even medicine, enabling professionals to make informed decisions about the consequences of separating parents from children, and to recognise signs when all is not well for a child.
Marsha Linehan (b. 1943; Oklahoma, USA) WHAT DID SHE DO? Linehan is heavily involved in the development of behavioural models and interventions to address drug use, suicidal behaviours, and borderline personality disorder. As a successful psychologist, in 2011, Linehan admitted having personal experience of many of the symptoms associated with BPD, resulting in a period of hospitalisation in her twenties. WHY IS SHE IMPORTANT? Linehan developed Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), a psychological treatment which has been found to be effective in the treatment of borderline personality disorder, a condition which was commonly considered to be untreatable, previously.
The Looking Glass
Who are your favourite female icons from the psych-professions?
Share your thoughts on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ TheLookingGlass2012
Athena SWAN is an initiative launched in 2005 dedicated to challenging the inequities faced by women in academia. Via a bronze, silver and gold system they recognise institutions that promote female careers in science and related fields (so-called STEMM subjects). The IoP has taken the charter and the principles upholding it seriously, for example by setting up their own Women in Science Initiative in 2012. By first recognising and subsequently formulating methods to address any gender inequities found here at the IoP, the hope is that the institute will be in a position to retain itâ€™s bronze award, gained back in 2008 and following this to go for silver. With the announcement that BRC funding will be awarded based on the Athena SWAN awards, the pressure is on for institutions nationwide to step up to the plate. The Self-Assessment Team (pictured below), made up of male and female members of various departments at the IoP, is responsible for guiding this process and applying for the Athena SWAN Awards. They are conducting research to identify inequities and meet regularly to propose action plans to address the inequities where they find them. They drew up a prioritised 11-point action plan for the Women in Science Initiative this July 2013 on the basis of what they deem to be problematical and in need of redress here at the IoP. As part of our Focus on Women, The Looking Glass decided to find out more about Athena SWAN and the people involved. We sent out representatives of the magazine to interview various members of the SAT, to find out what motivates them, what obstacles they feel exist at the IoP and get their take on gender inequity more broadly.
Want more information? The KCL webpages dedicated to Athena SWAN have been given a recent overhaul. Visit them to find out more about the initiative and to find out more about training and development opportunities, the Self Assessment Team and relevant KCL policies. Visit: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iop/about/Women-inScience/index.aspx The Looking Glass
Professor Elizabeth Kuipers Chair of the Athena SWAN committee
“if you improve a workplace by improving the way things are done for a particular group of people, it improves things for everybody”
Professor Elizabeth Kuipers is a Senior Research Fellow and Lead for Athena SWAN at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP). Her research has mainly focused on psychosis, in particular hallucinations/delusions, individual interventions based on cognitive-behavioural approaches, and family therapy. She was awarded the Shapiro award for eminence in Clinical Psychology in 2010 and is currently chairing the NICE guidelines group for the Schizophrenia and Psychosis Update 2014. Apart from continuing her work as a research supervisor, Prof Kuipers is a mother of three. Steffen Nestler met with her to discuss her take on Athena SWAN and being a woman in academia. You are the chair of the Athena SWAN Committee here at usually other researchers. And that’s not right given that the Institute of Psychiatry. Would you mind telling me a women are half the population. Women are equally interestlittle bit about this? ed in science. And I’ve always made a fuss about it – not a very big fuss, but I might say, ‘have you thought about having There is a King’s College London (KCL) Athena SWAN comwomen on this committee?’ or, ‘why am I the only woman mittee which is chaired by Evelyn Welch now, who is the new giving a talk at this conference?’ vice principal. She is the chair of the KCL Self-Assessment Team (SAT); I’m chair of the Institute [of Psychiatry] one, be- It’s already got a lot better at the institute over the years. cause the institute wants to put in its application as a school. Dame Sally Davies [the Chief Medical Officer for England; In order to do that, KCL has to have its Bronze-level award. ed.’s note] made it clear that funding was going to be deOnce KCL has a Bronze award, individual departments or pendent on this. I was asked to lead the IOP Athena SWAN schools can go for their own application. So, I’m in charge of application by the Dean and it was something I was very inthe institute’s application when it comes, but we can’t actual- terested to do. I’d already done quite a bit of preparatory ly do that until KCL has renewed its Bronze Award– hopefully work to put in the Silver for the Psychology Department in September 2013. [around 2008]. And so I knew about Athena SWAN and I knew what the processes were – I knew what we had to do. What was your motivation to try and advance gender equalAmy Iversen [Senior Clinical Lecturer and Director of Faculty ity at the IoP? Development at the IoP; ed.’s note] here had done a mentorIt’s partly being a woman professor. At the time when I ing scheme that I had helped her take through the IOP manjoined the institute, there were no senior female professors. agement committee. It did seem helpful for people to have There haven’t been many women leading departments, more contact with someone senior and to be able to talk which I was doing until last year. It has always felt important through things in that coaching, mentoring way. The Athena to try and make a bit of a point in committees, which have Swan initiative is an opportunity to see if we can move an endlessly been full of middle-aged men. You’ve got the argu- institution into a better place; make it a better place for ment that often the secretariat is made up of women, but I women to work in and stay involved in. was always aware that other women in the room were not
The Looking Glass
You mentioned that there could be particular reasons for the Equally, there should be structures in place which are perfectly disparity between men and women’s career progressions and I standard. Then everyone has a lot more choice about how they was wondering what you think those would be, in your experi- use them. ence? Would you say career breaks are a specific issue for women or Women start off working here, but then there’s quite a big turn- is that more difficult in science in general, because perhaps over: 70% of our researchers and early career professionals are ideally you would have a relatively continuous publishing recwomen. About 30% of the professoriat are women, which is ord? better than average – it’s usually around 20%, particularly in the You do need to keep going and have new grants and new panatural sciences where it’s maybe around 10%. We’re not doing pers. I mean, it has got better, because you can say you were on badly, but we could do better. a break and I think that’s understood now. I’ve always put it my Being an academic is quite a pressurized life. You’ve got very maternity leaves on my CV for instance, because I always high performance standards and you’ve got to keep going. It’s thought it important to point out that you might have had a not just about having children – and I’ve got three children, so I gap for a while, and even if you hadn’t had a gap, you might had various maternity leaves. There is an issue about how you have been preoccupied – and that it was relevant to bring to come back after maternity leave. Now that’s better, in the sense people’s attention that you might have another life. But you can that it’s now much more accepted that you will come back to catch up. Perhaps it was harder to keep on top of it when you work. Women are more likely to have a career break – men would physically have had to go to the library every time and all have them, too, but fewer of them do this. Women are much that. Nowadays, with access to papers from home, and all the more likely to have career breaks and work part time, as part of new technology, some of that might be easier, which is good. accommodating their family responsibilities. What would you hope some of the implications would be for The pressure, I think, is a strong issue – we’ve just done a big people ‘on the ground’, so to speak, if the Silver award for the survey at the IOP. If it feels like a male dominated environment, IoP were to come through? that can feel much less supportive. And, I mean, it’s not always Well, one of the good things about Athena SWAN is that it very supportive for some men. It’s not always a gender issue. wants data. It wants you to look at data and when the Silver is But if it’s primarily geared toward one gender being successful, awarded, it also wants some evidence that you’ve done somethen the other gender has more trouble in all sorts of ways. The thing. The amount of time it’ll take to really change things is institute isn’t particularly seen as a supportive, ‘do your best’ probably more than a year. But on the other hand, starting the environment. Although, within individual departments, people change process is important: bringing these issues to people’s tell us they are supported, it’s a bit hit-and-miss. I suppose the attention and having them discussed at the IOP management Athena SWAN issue is to try and make things standard, so that board meeting every month. You know, there’s always an item people feel supported wherever they are in the institution; about it. It’s reaching that kind of awareness level. there are clear procedures about how you do things and everyAnd then, learning about what good things are going on in other body does them. departments and starting to get that going in all departments: What do you think are motivating issues for men and women? such as getting gender balances in committees, making sure There do tend to be, broadly, differences in style and differ- that interview panels have men and women on them and that ences in preferences about how people want to be – I wonder panels don’t just select men to be interviewed. None of it is very what the right phrase is. There does seem to be some evidence hard, but to bring about change needs people to think about it from our IOP survey, that women like, in a slightly more overt when they’re making lots of little decisions. It’s much clearer way, to feel emotionally and socially supported and valued at now, because we have data about what the issues are. For exwork. And you might think that everybody would want to feel ample, there are pinch points where people find it hard to get that, but women might just have a different sort of social view promoted, and this is because people find promotion processes of things and value more that other academics, particularly their hard to understand, do not always feel supported, or that they managers and Heads of Department, are overtly supportive and get enough help with grant applications etc. We have started to encouraging. Perhaps the word is ‘encouraging’. change this. Would you reckon that intrinsic or extrinsic motivators are I wanted to ask you one last question. Would you think it’s more powerful in terms of changing or promoting gender important to get men involved in gender equality issues as equality? well and why? I think it’s probably both. I think different people need different things at different times. Things like having a good manager who understands mentoring and management – it’s not quite the same thing. But feeling that the person who you relate to the next level up is going to be understanding and helpful, whatever it is, rather than say ‘no, you can’t do that’. And then having mentoring about intrinsic motivations and what the issues are, and how to sort it out. I think that’s what we’re trying to do with Athena SWAN really, help people feel more confident themselves and also provide the pathways for them, so that they’re not having to climb the cliff face themselves every time.
Yes, obviously it is. Many men are very keen that it’s sorted out as well. However, there can be a kind of, ‘oh, me too’-issue.. ‘And what about the men? We mustn’t leave them behind.’ The reality is that the men were always ahead and however badly they’ve been treated, women have usually been treated worse. All you’re trying to do really is move everyone into the same position, and then move everybody on. It’s very helpful if men can see it not just as someone else’s issue, but as their issue, too. In the end, if you improve a workplace by changing the way things are done for a particular group of people, it improves things for everybody. The Looking Glass
Lastly, it is no good having these programmes if people are not aware of these in a timely and proactive fashion. So we anticipate a wide programme of dissemination and conversation, of which I see this interview with ‘The Looking Glass’ an integral part.
Prof. Shitij Kapur is the Dean and Head of School at the IoP. He also heads the section on Schizophrenia, Imaging and Therapeutics. He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) and a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
We have a number of very inspiring female professors at the IoP. How important do you think it is for female early career researchers to have role models of the same gender?
Why are you personally motivated to work towards gender equality at the IoP?
Indeed we do have a number of very inspiring female professors at the IOP. In fact, it was to celebrate these role models and their contributions that we produced our “Inspiring Women” portrait exhibition this year. I think it is most important for early career researchers to have a role model who inspires them. This inspiration usually arises “the real goal is to ensure equality of opportunity, What would you say are the aims of from the passion, ambition and with the hope of harnessing the very best of talAthena SWAN and why is the IoP commitment of the senior scholar, committed to applying for a Silver not from their gender. That said, ent for the IoP” award? there is no denying, that all other things being equal there is a special Athena SWAN is a benchmark. It is really a cific to the IoP, however, I do not think relationship if you feel that your mentor means to an end, not an end in itself. that up till now we have paid systematic has also faced many of the same issues and There is no denying that because this par- and sustained attention to this issue in the challenges that are in front of you. ticular benchmark has been linked to fu- way that it deserves. ture funding we tend to use the name I’m a little wary of recommending that only What are the key components of the Sil“Athena SWAN” as a shorthand for gender women should mentor early career women ver award application and how will it benequality. However, the real goal is to enresearchers. First, it would be practically efit women starting their research careers sure equality of opportunity, with the hope difficult. Second, it would be needlessly at the IoP? of harnessing the very best of talent for myopic. What is more important is that the IoP and King’s. Athena SWAN is very As part of our commitment to enhancing senior male mentors make a special effort useful in this regard because it focuses the quality of opportunity across the gen- to familiarise themselves with and be espeyour mind on a series of discrete and ders, we will be implementing an 11-point cially sensitive to the unique circumstances reachable short term steps. However, it is programme of action that has been devel- of life and family that usually confront my hope that the changes we engender in oped with wide-ranging input from staff women early career researchers. practice and culture will live beyond the and with the oversight of our own ‘Self Lastly, what is your take on the idea that times and confines of an external recogni- Assessment Team’. Broadly it would inmen should be encouraged to be as intion. clude elements of a welcoming induction volved in women as fighting for gender which introduces new staff to our workHow much of a gender imbalance do you equality? place; mentoring schemes and grant applithink there is at the IoP? Do you think cation workshops; specific attention to Of course they must. This is not an issue of there are specific challenges or obstacles balanced representation on appointment women’s equality coming at the expense for women here? panels and committees; special programs of men’s opportunity. It is an issue of creClose to 60% of our scientific staff at the to help with the planning of maternity/ ating organisations which give all their postdoctoral fellow stage are female, how- paternity leave and facilitation of return to community an equal chance to succeed, ever at the very top of academic achieve- work; a bespoke “buddy” system for those thereby harnessing the very best of talent. ment only about 30% are female. Some of undertaking career breaks; education of In the end, if we get this right, the entire this is just a cohort effect as it takes almost line managers about these opportunities; community wins – not just the women. I two decades to work from a junior position and a continuation of our recently started do realise that sometimes men feed uncerto being a professor. However, even cor- “Inspiring Women” events. While it is tain about whether they are welcome or recting for this lag, it is clear that there are about a culture change rather than any helpful in this venture. They can be very sharp drop-offs in representation as sen- one specific practice, changing behaviour is helpful, are certainly welcome, and must iority levels rise. I don’t think there are a good way to facilitate the change in cul- get involved. challenges and obstacles for women spe- ture. Because it is the right thing to do. It is a fundamental matter of fairness and equality of opportunity; and it makes strategic sense for the IoP. The majority of our junior scientific talent is now female – any organisation that does not make maximum use of this pool of talent will be left behind.
The Looking Glass
Professor Shitij Kapur
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY Dr. Alice Egerton is a postdoctoral research fellow and lecturer in the neuropsychiatry of psychosis at the IoP. Her work includes studies into glutaminergic and dopaminergic function in high-risk individuals with psychosis, as well as treatment resistant and first-episode psychosis. She also has a young child and has first hand experience of maternity leave and return to work practices at the IoP.
also link to relevant information about King’s policies on parenting issues, together with the recently introduced buddying schemes and return to work fund for new parents. What advice would you give to women just starting out in a career in academia?
I am still quite early in my academic career but a key thing for me has been gaining confidence. Surveys by bodies such as the European Commission have shown that women have higher levels of self-doubt than men, meaning they are less likely apply for grants or promotions or aim to publish in high impact journals, despite equal chances of success (Narasimhan, 2010). The main advice I would give is to not be “Sometimes it is important to push shy of asking for informal guidance, and to yourself outside of your ‘comfort zone’” actively seek out opportunities, rather than waiting to be asked. Sometimes it is important to push yourself outside of your problem faced by mothers ‘comfort zone,’ whilst in other circumWhat challenges do you think women face returning to work after the birth of their stances quiet persistence often pays off. in the workplace and how can they be child, in the form of a quiet room for It can sometimes be difficult to juggle eveovercome? breast-feeding. Can you tell us a bit more rything, with different work commitabout this, and why you were motivated ments, interests outside work and family Although there have been significant adto do it? life. How do you manage to ensure you vances in gender equality, women are still very under-represented in science, tech- I returned to work last November (2012) have a balance? nology and engineering (SET) subjects. The after taking eight months maternity leave This is a difficult one to answer! Finding the transition from doctoral or postdoctoral after my daughter was born. This was acturight balance will of course be different for researcher to lecturer is a major career ally a fantastic time to come back to the everyone, depending on their family, social bottle-neck for both male and female re- IoP – before I went on maternity leave I and work situation. These things also searchers, but a worrying number of wom- felt that there was not a great deal of supchange, so it is important to re-evaluate en scientists quit academia at this stage. port for staff going on maternity leave or from time-to-time. I find keeping these The reasons for this are complex; childcare for being a working parent. However, I different aspects of my life separate also is often a factor, but short-term contracts returned to work just as the IoP initiated helps, for example I do not have work and a lack of self-confidence are also key processes towards their bid for an Athena email synced to my personal mobile phone issues. The under-representation of wom- SWAN award for gender equality and to - so that during family time I am not tempten in senior academic positions in SET me it felt like suddenly all these issues ed to respond or distracted by work. means that there is often a lack of female were being addressed really positively. role models for more junior staff. KCL are Better support for female staff during preg- Do you think women have a responsibildoing a great deal to better support, en- nancy, maternity leave and on return to ity, as they become more senior in their courage and retain female academics, for work was just one of several action points careers, to mentor and support young example in mentoring schemes, flexible identified as being important for pro- female researchers? working policies, and balanced gender rep- moting gender equality. As I had recently I think it is an absolute responsibility for all resentation on interview and promotions been through this process myself, I felt senior academics to support and encourpanels. that this was something I could help. age young researchers, irrespective of genI am fortunate enough to have been very The mothering facility at Denmark Hill is a der. Having women in senior academic well supported in my career - by both fe- room where female staff can go to rest positions is crucially important in to changmale and male mentors. In instances while they are pregnant, and use for ing the culture of an organisation, for exwhere I have needed extra advice or a breastfeeding or expressing milk on return ample in creating a more nurturing, codifferent point of view, I have actively to work or on keeping-in-touch days. The operative and family-friendly workplace. sought this from senior female academics room already existed but it was not very The presence of these inspirational female often outside my university or network. welcoming or easy to access and few peo- leaders means that early career female This has been incredibly helpful in making ple knew about it. We contacted staff who scientists of high potential can view a sucseveral choices along my career so far. I had recently returned from maternity cessful academic career as an attainable would encourage postgraduates not to be leave by email and also held a small focus goal. shy in asking more senior staff about their group to decide on the improvements we References own experiences, or for advice – most peo- could make. The room will now be better Narasimhan K, 2010. Wanted: women in reple are very happy to be asked and to pro- advertised and is currently being decorat- search. Nature Neuroscience Editorial, 13, 267 vide support. ed, furnished and better equipped. Emails from HR and a noticeboard in the room will You came up with a practical solution to a The Looking Glass 20
Dr Alice Egerton
Dr Argyris Stringaris “It should be in the enlightened interest of men and women… that our daughters are not born into disadvantage.” BRIEF BIOGRAPHY Dr Argyris Stringaris is a senior lecturer in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and an honorary consultant at the Mood Disorders Clinic of the Maudsley Hospital. He is currently funded by the Wellcome Trust to study mood in health and disease across human development. Why are you personally motivated to work towards gender equality at the IoP? Joining the committee was a good opportunity for me to have a close look at the evidence myself and be reassured that this was not an exercise in political correctness. As well as being unfair, there is evidence that gender inequality may damage the wealth of the nation and gender imbalance could worsen the performance of our institution. Also, I was asked to do it at a time when questions about career progress were very close to home for me and, particularly for my wife (also a clinician scientist), who has invested so much time in raising our now one year old daughter Clara Maria. I strongly believe that one of the main issues here is about how families tackle these challenges. The solutions will most likely rely on both parents taking personal responsibility and trying to change structures that are often crusty and bureaucratic. Finally, I very much liked the name ATHENA, alluding to my favourite Greek goddess, who fittingly represents those important things like wisdom, just warfare, mathematics, and the arts!
The Looking Glass
What do you think are the challenges that women’s careers. I know that other collegwomen face in reaching the top in STEMM es in London have tried to help by subsidiscareers? ing childcare for researchers. There are several and we still need to figure out the origins of the existing gender imbalance. To me it seems that maternity leave and time off for child care is the crucial problem for many mid-career researchers. So, one of the main questions is how we can deal with this problem in a practical way. Are we—society and the College—prepared to make an investment in, say, good and cheaper childcare at universities, that will make it easier for parents to work and have children?
Why is it important that we work for greater equality in STEMM workplaces?
As I mentioned above, gender imbalances can have a negative impact on the economy and an institution’s performance. My understanding is that a report has been commissioned on the business case for tackling gender balance. I look forward to seeing its results. Arguing on the basis of common sense, it seems an awful waste of talent to train women scientists only for them to drop off the career ladder at a How much of a gender imbalance do you spectacularly higher rate than men—there think there is at the IoP? Do you think is something wrong there. there are specific challenges or obstacles How important do you think it is for fefor women here? male early career researchers to have role Our workgroup will publish the detailed models of the same gender? results of the imbalances we have identiI think they are hugely important. Howevfied. Perhaps the most striking finding is er, speaking as someone who is inspired by that we have a great number of female great women scientists—from Rita Leviearly-career researchers—women are acMontalcini to Lyn Pilowsky at the IoP—I tually the vast majority at that stage—but want to make sure that men also provide very few women in senior posts. Encouraginspiration for women. ingly, there has been a trend towards more women professors in recent years, but the Lastly, what is your take on the idea that men should be encouraged to be as ingap is still there. volved as women in fighting for gender I don’t have yet have all the data to comequality? pare the IoP to other institutions. Anecdotally, we may be doing better than other I think the fight should be for all of us— departments but we will have to look at men and women—to feel responsible for the evidence. I am not sure whether there what is happening in our society. It should are specific challenges or obstacles at the be in the enlightened interest of men and IoP, apart from those that have to do with women that the game is fair and in the living in an expensive city such as London. interest of families that our daughters are Childcare is often unaffordable for young not born into disadvantage. couples and this can have an impact on
What challenges do you think women face in the workplace and how can they be overcome? Have you faced any challenges during your career that were gender-related and how did you meet and overcome these? I think challenges for women in science come from many directions. Although women represent more than half the medical UK graduates, they are not represented in a similar or even close proportion in senior leadership roles, and the number of professors we have in science and medicine is not gender balanced. This is not simply due to the fact that women have career breaks. There is now a recognition that women’s career pathways are negatively discriminated and a number of initiatives are being put in place, including at the Institute of Psychiatry, to reverse this trend. At the same time, there are challenges that come from the way women themselves approach the workplace, which may affect how competitive they are perceived to be. For example, various reports show that women are less confident than their male colleagues and therefore apply for promotions later than males. Women need to become much better at doing this.
tre together with Professor Simon Lovestone, Director of our BRC.
“Greater equality is a moral imperative.”
Dr Paola Dazzan BRIEF BIOGRAPHY Dr. Paola Dazzan is a senior clinical lecturer in neuroimaging and early psychosis and head of the Early Psychosis Section within the Psychosis Studies department. Her main area of interest is the application of brain imaging to the study of the early stages of psychosis, and the biological effects of antipsychotics.
I just went through medical school and my career trying to work very hard to progress and get recognition, and I believe I have experienced no more and no less gender-related challenges than my other female colleagues. Working in the Athena initiative has made me aware of the need to address some of these challenges at an institutional level if we are to see changes in the not too distant future. Do you think gender differences in psychology affect how men and women approach work situations? Yes. As I mentioned, women have a tendency to work and wait for people around them to notice it and this does not help. It creates a sort of “transparency effect”. Males are much better at grabbing opportunities and hence they get noticed more. There is now much more insight into these dynamics and unconscious biases, although there is still a lot of resistance to accept them. It can sometimes be difficult to juggle everything, with different work commitments, interests outside work and family life. How do you manage to ensure you have a balance? I am not sure I am actually that good at
Simon approached me to work with him on this project last year and, as a woman academic, this was an area very close to my heart, so it was easy to say yes. Athena has just become an opportunity to start addressing an imbalance that would otherwise take longer to be changed. The BRC has fully embraced this opportunity. Within the BRC we are looking at our own management structure, for example in decision-making groups, identifying ways to mentor and support women to become more involved in positions of responsibility, or helping them return to work after a career break with specific funding streams. Although this work was prompted by Dame Sally Davies’s decision, it has become our opportunity to work for a permanent change in academia. Why is it important that we work for greater equality in STEMM workplaces? Greater equality is a moral imperative. It means not only higher satisfaction for the single individual, but a happier, wealthier and stronger workforce for the Institution.
We have a number of very inspiring female professors at the IoP. How imensuring there is a balance! What works portant do you think it is for female early for me is to monitor when work is taking career researchers to have role models of over and then remind myself of the other the same gender? things I love doing and make sure I do Both female and male senior academics them. One thing I have learned is that you have a responsibility to mentor and suphave to book protected time in your diary, port junior colleagues, both male and fefor small and big things, like travelling: if male juniors, in navigating this system. you wait till you have free time for these, Role models are very important for early they will never happen. But if you already career researchers. I have been lucky to have them booked, you will make the time. meet very positive female role models, but Can you tell us a bit about your role with- I have always looked for inspiration from in Athena SWAN and what your motiva- role models independently of their gender tion was for getting involved? Can you or professional background. However, explain about the role of the BRC in this sitting in committees in which I was one of only few female academics has at times initiative? made me feel quite isolated and think how As part of the Athena charter, the IoP is important it is to have a senior female role evaluating progress that our institution is model. Things may get easier as time passmaking in effectively supporting women in es and the current inequalities start being their academic careers in preparation for a addressed. Silver Award application. This will be an essential requirement for the next round As a successful female academic, what of NIHR BRC funding applications, which advice would you give to women just will only be accepted by institutions that starting out in a career in this field? hold a Silver Award, as Dame Sally Davies, If you want it, you can succeed at it! … and head of the NIHR, announced at the last I would give the same advice to our male round. The IoP has therefore set up a ‘Selfcolleagues! Assessment Team’ that is working towards this application, and I am part of this team representing our Biomedical Research CenThe Looking Glass
Professor Ann McNeill “Having a family is absolutely compatible with a career in research, and absolutely has to be”
Professor Ann McNeill joined the IoP in 2012 as a Professor of Tobacco Addiction, was featured in the “Inspiring Women” exhibit and has recently become the deputy chair of the Athena SWAN initiative at the IoP. Lindsey Hines met with Professor McNeill to find out more. Ann McNeill is one of the IoP’s newest members of staff to be an Athena SWAN representative, but her involvement with the IoP began when she studied as a PhD student in what was the Addiction Research Unit. Since then Ann has worked in policy and research, leading work that has impacted on smoking behaviours both nationally and internationally. “This field is about changing people’s unhealthy behaviour, which is challenging enough – we can all think of things we’d like to do to improve our health – and if you layer an addiction on top of that it adds another level of complexity to what we’re trying to do.” In such a difficult and high-impact academic field, Ann has found her policy background invaluable in understanding how to produce research that translates into practice but still feels there are further areas to tackle. “I think we’ve had enormous successes over the years reducing cigarette smoking in populations, but it is still the largest single cause of death and disease in England and still the largest contributor to health inequalities. Where we haven’t been successful is in changing smoking amongst the most disadvantaged groups in society – for example, most people with mental health problems will probably die as a result of smoking rather than as a result of mental health issues - and the challenges and complexities of doing that are what motivates me.” Tobacco research and legislation is often high profile and well publicised, and one of Ann’s most recent achievements was contributing to ensuring that large, eye-catching displays of tobacco were removed from shops. However, even amongst a prolific academic career influencing policy and practice Ann notes that it’s not always the obvious successes that feel the most important. “Sometimes it’s not an academic paper that you feel most satisfied about. I gave a talk at a conference around 2000 on smoking and mental health which helped to put the issue on the map, and a number of people came up to me afterwards and said that had inspired them to work in the field. Often it’s the peripheral things we do that can perhaps have the most impact.” For Ann, some of the most important lessons she has learnt along the way are to take risks “which is always worthwhile, even though you will make mistakes along the way” and to be yourself, making your mark in your own way. Ann sees this as a particular issue for women in the workplace, who need the importance of their opinions to be recognised even if the way they make their point sometimes differs from the style of the men around them. Ann was asked to join Athena SWAN when she returned to the IoP as a Professor, but had always been interested in gender issues and had noticed the preponderance of males higher up in the organisation when she looked at return23
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ing to the institute. Although she has not been part of the Athena SWAN process from the beginning, Ann can already see a number of positive steps that have been made. “For me the most important thing has been putting it on the map as an issue, the scrutiny of the organisation and the acknowledgment that things have to change. There have been some things already put in place, such as ensuring a better gender balance on committees. The ‘Inspiring Women’ event was also important, even if I didn’t like the idea at all of having my photo taken! When I thought back over my experience of going to the Royal College of Physicians and seeing the paintings of eminent men on the walls I realised how important it is for women to have role models too.” One of the ways that Ann envisages gender equality improving at the IoP is through better communication and transparency of processes, and ensuring that women are heard at all levels of the organisation. ”There are pockets of good practice around the organisation regarding ensuring equality in who is put forward for promotion and prizes, and these practices need to be replicated across the organisation”. Promoting transparency and communication may also be one way to ensure that women feel able to combine a career in research with raising a family. One of the starkest statistics regarding gender equality at the IoP is that showing 70% of early career researchers are female compared to around 30% of professors, and ensuring that having children is not a barrier to women’s careers is seen by many as one of the key tasks of the Athena SWAN initiative. “Having a family is absolutely compatible with a career in research, and absolutely has to be” insists Ann, “it should be seen as a normal, simple and straight forward process. I remember the trepidation I felt when I told my line manager I was pregnant, and feeling as though I was letting them down at a moment when I should have been feeling celebratory. Things have improved hugely since then, but I don’t think we’re there yet.” The initiative could improve the processes around maternity leave, ensuring that communication is maintained between staff and those on maternity leave who wish to return to work, keeping them informed about opportunities and grants they could be involved in. Despite the challenges posed by finite grants and short-term contracts, Ann points out that in many ways research can work well with family life given that research work is often relatively flexible. Research has its own specific equality issues and Ann feels that a more visible career path may be one of the ways to address these. However, there is an increasing awareness of the need for gender equality in wider society and the acknowledgement of this as an issue in research mirrors increased media discussion of gender equality issues. When considering this Ann highlights the recent Twitter abuse scandal as one high-profile example of equality issues in society. “These societal problems compound the issues, but I am confident the IoP’s laudable commitment to the Athena SWAN initiative will bring about change here relatively quickly. The key thing will be ensuring the policies and processes we come up with are implemented.”
Featured Blog WomenRockScience.tumblr.com Hadiza Mohammed
The Looking Glass
EQUALITY AT WORK: SOCIETY OR PSYCHOLOGY? by Emma Greenlees
riends often ask me if I want to have a family. Just as easily they will ask what I want to do for a career (or, as my Mum likes to put it ‘when I grow up’). It’s an interesting question, mainly be-
cause I have no idea at this stage in my life, what precisely I want ‘to do’. Simply aiming to be fulﬁlled and conﬁdent in life does not seem to be a satisfactory reply. Working as a lawyer would be a far more suitable aim. Current trends (particularly in the world of journalism) would suggest that this is a particular issue for women.¹ However, it’s not a modern phenomenon: women have not historically been given the same equality as men: fact. Indeed, women in the UK were only given the right to vote in 1918. That’s less than 100 years ago. Women are also able to bear children whilst men are not: fact. Biologically, and socially, men and women are treated differently. This seems a good point to introduce the notion of feminism. Deﬁned as: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”, it has little (or nothing) to do with bra-burning or female eunuchs.² Feminism is merely a strand of egalitarianism - advocacy for everyone to live their lives with the same opportunities as everyone else around them, without gender-based discrimination. However, differences in historical and biological development between the genders are obstacles, and are often cited in arguments about women’s rights and particularly progression within careers. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, recently released her book Lean In; a semi-autobiographical guide to success in the world of business, from someone who has been through the challenges of gender prejudice and discrimination, and has still reached the top of her own career path. She discusses the difﬁculties of raising children, the challenges of marriage, and the lack of physical facilities for women (particularly pregnant women) in the ofﬁce, along with the prejudices that women face in their workplaces - particularly 25
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coming from men who grew up and began
veloping coping mechanisms and skills inde-
their careers in a world that didn’t permit fe-
pendently is the best preparation for the work-
male equality (nor, for that matter, racial or
place. One platform, which aids development
of these skills, is iConcipio, an online support
An issue that seems to be avoided, rather prohibitively, is the mental differences between men and women. The stereotypes are always joked about in aggravatingly simple terms: women are neat, men are messy; women are emotional, men are logical; women like pink things, men like blue things...the list of (often) ridiculous and
system with facilities to help tackle these issues. Animated videos help users to boost their assertiveness, build conﬁdence, help devise strategies for dealing with challenging situations in every walk of life – in other words to learn how to deal with the side effects of symptoms of anxiety and depression.
untrue generalisations continues. What we don’t often look at
Assertiveness and conﬁdence are two key assets, which are
are the facts:
often lost to depression and anxiety. They are, therefore, of
Women have twice the likelihood of experiencing anxiety as men: fact.³
enormous importance for women in the world of work, particularly at the formative stage of university and study. Access to the advice that organisations such as iConcipio can give is not
Women are over twice as likely to experience depression as
only enormously helpful but also very achievable. Online video
techniques with pertinent examples mean that advice can be
These sort of statistics are shocking, yes. But what we need to
sought and learning can take place at any time and from any-
do is combat them. Challenging the availability of childcare is
where with access to the internet. iConcipio also provides dai-
one thing, but facilitating stronger mental health amongst
ly advice through Facebook and Twitter rendering their offer-
women would be a far greater aid in their career progression.
ing readily accessible and personal. Through these platforms
Because of the focus on women in ‘the workplace’, it’s easy to forget that these issues ring true not just for adults with jobs
students can access psychological techniques, advice and answers to their speciﬁc questions from a team of experts.
in ofﬁces and families at home, but students too. In fact, for
Psychology might not be able to remove years of deep-rooted
students in a difﬁcult period of their lives with ﬁnancial, social,
prejudice in society, but it can give you the strength to over-
sexual and emotional struggles alongside academic challenges
come the fear of facing it and teach you how to cope with it.
and impending career choices, these issues can be even more
Make the most of these progressions, and look at platforms
obstructive and difﬁcult.
like iConcipio to help with your own gremlins.
Tackling these sorts of issues may seem daunting, but they are - as the statistics demonstrate - extremely common amongst women. Despite the frequency of these problems we need not despair. Combatting the challenges for women in society - and particularly in the workplace - is not a simple, or short-term, task. What is required is a combination of psychological support and social change. With initiatives such as the UK government's 'Women's Business Council' and Sheryl Sandberg's 'Lean In' organisation we are starting to see prominent groups bringing women together to explore options. The creation of new communities offering inspirational role models, collaboration, support and encouragement is fantastic, and the government's recognition and backing of these issues (if channelled correctly) could be a driving force to push things forward. What these organisations and psychological support manage to achieve is possibility, and it is that which is the key to change. In the meantime, we must have individual strategies to prepare us for the challenges we face while still in education. De-
References 1 Sheryl Sandberg Lean In, Caitlin Moran How to be a Woman, Hadley Freeman Be Awesome 2 http://oxforddictionaries.com/deﬁnition/english/feminism 3 60% OCD sufferers are women. Mental Health Foundation http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help - information/mental-health-statistics/men-women/?view=Standard 4 women 1/4; men 1/10 Mental Health Foundation http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/helpinformation/mental- health-statistics/men-women/?view=Standard
Emma Greenlees is a BA student at UCL and freelance writer. She has experienced a number of mental health difficulties herself, including depression, anxiety, OCD and an eating disorder. She dedicates much of her writing to developing her own understanding of these illnesses and helping provide support to others experiencing these difficulties, particularly students. She has been working as a PR & Marketing Assistant at iConcipio for nearly 2 years, since its inception.
Website: www.iconcipio.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/iConcipio/270919576309721? ref=ts&fref=ts Twitter: https://twitter.com/iConcipio.
Vision “A world where access to a fulfilling STEM career is decoupled from gender” Science is for everyone
Mission “To celebrate and promote STEM careers by building and strengthening a network of people who are passionate about passing on their love of STEM to the next generation”
It started, as many great ideas do, with a conversation in the pub. The topic of this conversation was the EU's latest attempt at encouraging girls to enter STEM subjects by making it appear more ‘attractive’ entitled 'Science, it's a girl thing', which cost over £70,000. Unfortunately it was less than successful. Male and female twitter users alike went for the jugular, criticising the stereotypical, overtly sexual representation of women and the video was swiftly removed from the EU’s website after little more than 24 hours. Many of you may have seen the offending video...it looks more like a Euro pop music video than an educational campaign. (See it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g032MPrSjFA) Heather and co. felt the same as many others and so ScienceGrrl was born. We spoke to Heather and got the scoop on who ScienceGrrl are and what they have in store for us.
So, what was your initial reaction to 'that So you decided to counter it with a realistic calendar to life. I also had a bit of money video'? calendar? behind me, left to me by my late mother-inlaw, which I knew I could fall back on if eveWhat annoyed me, and several of my I joked that we could make a “sexy women rything went wrong. I realised I'd been lookTwitter contacts, most was that in the full of science 2013” calendar, and whilst I was ing for an opportunity to lead something I 53 seconds of this video, no science was joking, something in that idea stuck. We felt passionately about, and as that oppordone – a lot of giggling and flirting amongst took the discussion to e-mail and talked tunity wasn't forthcoming at work in the vaguely scientific imagery, spilt makeup and about how this could work, and I was intro- NHS, I started leading, started making those a surreally handsome man in a white coat, duced to Louise Crane, who was Artist Di- decisions and steering the conversation. I but no science. We wondered: is this how rector for the 2011 Geek Calendar and vol- became ScienceGrrl's Director. we sell science to the next generation? Are unteered to be our Producer. Discussions Do you think the calendar worked then? not real women scientists – in all their di- went around and around for a few days and versity –more interesting, authentic and, I realised someone would have to step up The ScienceGrrl 2013 calendar is an ultimately, more attractive? Isn't science and make decisions or we'd get nowhere. I achievement which we are very proud of, itself - real hard-graft, finding-out-stuff-for- didn't have any previous experience of mak- it'll inspire and impress throughout this the-first-time, foundation-of-modern-life ing calendars, but I had managed projects year, and live on beyond 2013 as the images science - actually sexier than this soft-focus and people before, and in Louise I had the and biographies are hosted on the Science pastiche that looks like a cosmetics advert? specialist expertise I needed to bring the Council Futuremorph careers website. How-
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ever, as we went through the process of putting together the calendar, something even more wonderful happened – we gathered a network of people who were passionate about celebrating and promoting women in science, and passing on our love of science to the next generation. That awful EU video actually achieved something in that it was the push some needed to stand up and say “I'm here! I'm a female scientist and who I am and what I do is SO much better than that!” As Director, it's my job to shape ScienceGrrl into something that enables those voices to be heard loud and clear, not just by young people who are looking for role models who prove they can be who they are and do science, but also by wider culture, which still has Marie Curie as its sole female scientist reference point. What’s on the cards for 2013 and beyond? ScienceGrrl's vision is really quite expansive, we want to support female scientists locally and through online connections, but we also want to work nationally to raise the profile of female scientists and highlight the obstacles that deter many from pursuing STEM careers. Our strategy for this year has several strands, as we explore where our strengths are and find our niche – it can be found online, via our website. ScienceGrrl is directed by me, but we have an executive committee of six (me, Anna, Ellie, Liz, Jay and Lucy) who oversee the development of the network and other key volunteers who have responsibility for merchandising, the website, and head up local chapters. We're in the process of growing into a national network celebrating and promoting women in science, and whilst we've seen some really exciting developments (such as the rapid growth of local chapters), we're still in something of a transition phase as we try things and find what works best for us. I'm looking forward to getting to a stage where it's really clear to everyone who we are and what we do, although I hope we keep surprising people too with new initiatives and cool ways of showcasing what female scientists are up to.
What is now being done in relation to your gagement and communication initiatives in vision and mission? Birmingham next year, in partnership with Jon Wood at Birmingham University and With regards to highlighting obstacles to shadow minister for Science and UniversiSTEM careers, we've already been commis- ties, Shabana Mahmood. It's our intention sioned to compile a report summarising the to roll out this programme throughout the challenges to gender equality in STEM, pre- country via MPs in 2015. senting a number of policy suggestions on the basis of published evidence and the experiences of our members. One of our For you, what's good about ScienceGrrl? volunteers, Michelle Brook (formerly of the Connecting with so many interesting people Physiological Society) will be leading on this who are passionate about the science they and I look forward to passing on further do. Scientists really are a fascinating lot. details soon. We have had very encouraging And there's loads of them! And lots of them discussions with politicians from all parties, are women! Why don't more people know I will be on the panel at the Parliamentary this? Links day on Science and Diversity and at least ten ScienceGrrls will be in attendance. Why do you think ScienceGrrl is important? In terms of elevating the profile of female scientists within wider culture, we have a It's owned and run by scientists and those number of high profile supporters, we are with scientific backgrounds, mostly but not regulars at science festivals and events at exclusively women, so it has a real authenscience museums, and are organising public ticity. We're in conversation with policy lectures for the autumn term. We have ide- makers, and I think they like the fact that as for Supermarket Science, Shopping Cen- when they talk to committee members they tre Science, workshops in Parent and Tod- are hearing from working scientists. Scidler groups, and generally getting 'out enceGrrl also has a very friendly, relaxed, there' with science. Several of our members positive vibe; it's a supportive place where regularly blog and give media interviews, people can connect with those who get and we will be running a public speaking what they do for a living, talk through things workshop later in the year to help our that affect them, and try out fun ways of members communicate more confidently – communicating science to the next generamedia training will follow. As time goes on, tion together. We're all volunteers, so we we hope to become a trusted source for want it to be enjoyable for everyone injournalists looking for a 'good female scien- volved, ScienceGrrl should feel like a break tist' to provide gender balance in media from work not another thing on the endless coverage of science and technology stories. 'to do' list. We're also talking to teachers about how we can best support them in promoting STEM careers – I think it's important to take role models and relevant careers information to kids where they are, so their access is not dependent on family support or ability to travel to public events. We have an educators workshop tomorrow lunchtime near Euston, and are planning a schools strategy that local chapters can use as a basis of their partnerships with neighbouring schools. We are hoping to trial a number of projects involving schools, ScienceGrrl members and existing science en-
Is there anyone else doing similar things to raise awareness, or is this a solo venture? ScienceGrrl is one of several initiatives that have emerged recently that tap into this awareness – we're also working with Stemettes, who run events introducing young women to scientists and science, and STEMMSisters, who are setting up a mentoring programme for female scientists, as well as a number of established organisations such as WISE, GirlGeeks, WES and the Institute of Physics.
So, whether male or female, if you think more girls should have equal encouragement to enter STEM careers, join Heather the ScienceGrrl crew to help to encourage our future female scientists. It only costs £5 a year to become an official ScienceGrrl member, so get involved! Emma Palmer (ScienceGrrl since January 2013) Facebook http://facebook.com/SciGrrl Twitter @science_grrl Website www.sciencegrrl.co.uk The Looking Glass
On the couch with… Professor Susan Lea
Quick biography Susan started her career by completing her undergraduate degree in psychology, with a focus on clinical work, at University of Cape Town. She then successfully undertook a Masters degree in community psychology, also in Cape Town. Despite initially starting on a clinical psychology career path, Susan went into higher education whilst South Africa remained under the apartheid regime. Clinical psychology was still aligned with this and she was also quite politically active so it was ‘hard to square’ her personal interests with the regime. At the time she was also working in the townships, so decided it was best to change course and follow a community psychology approach. After spending some time in South Africa in an academic role she went on to gain her PhD at Loughborough University, in discourse and rhetoric. She was part of the now globally recognised Discourse and Rhetoric Group (DARG) and supervised by Michael Billig, with her research focussing on racism. She then moved to Plymouth University and held various roles, before moving to King’s two and a half years ago. (This article replaces an incorrect version posted online in error – our apologies to Professor Lea for the inconvenience caused) tween black and white. Universities were designated according to ‘race’, as black or white – everything was separate.
When I graduated and got my first academic job things shifted a little bit. At that time the University could take a quota of’ ‘black’ students. I was responsible for setting up In this issue we put Vice Dean of Education at the IoP, Professor Susan Lea on the an academic support programme for hiscouch. Professor Lea is an inspirational female figure at the IoP, who works tirelessly torically disadvantaged or black students in to improve the student experience for all of us. So, we decided to ask her to tell us Psychology. I was politically active and exin her own words what exactly her job entails. And as it’s the ‘Focus on Women’ iscited by the challenge but felt that I had sue we also grilled her on women’s issues in science. very little idea of what to do as a white You’ve had a really interesting career, I have always been passionate about both middle-class person. what is your main research focus? research and education, and have never My own research is split between psycho- been prepared to compromise on either! I I therefore worked with existing black stulogical research in sexual and domestic couldn’t stop doing research because it’s dents to find a curriculum that would be abuse, and pedagogic research around initi- interesting and important as well as central meaningful to black students entering highatives that I’ve been involved in and run. to university life. The sort of research I do - er education. It had to be different, as their into sexual and domestic abuse and earlier, schooling had been different – under the Are you passionate about your research? on racism, really has the potential to make apartheid regime schools were segregated Research has always been a passion of a difference to people’s experiences. I work and differently funded with very little remine. However, one of the challenges of mostly from a broad social justice perspec- source allocated for the education of those taking an education and research-focussed tive, helping people without a voice to be who weren’t white. Through this work, as a career path, which is now more clearly de- heard. very young academic, I came to understand fined in higher education, was that in the the power education had to change a sociepast research was seen as the more valua- And your interest in education provision? ty, because we were living in a society ble activity. Thankfully, there is now great- I grew up in South Africa and when I was at where those students had not had the er recognition of the value of education. school we were under the apartheid re- same advantages in any respect as white gime, so there was a complete divide be- students and the transformational power 29
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that education had was so immense. I could see the changes in those first students who came through that process with me. One of my first students, who had experienced very poor school education due to apartheid, did brilliantly at university and went on to Harvard to do law. It was just the most exciting thing ever, an amazing achievement, to see him realise his potential. And that’s why it’s a passion for me, because you can see the difference – education transforms individuals, the next generation and thereby potentially transforms society for the better. We are very aware of how hard you work to improve our experience and we would love to know more about what you do as Vice Dean. I have been in post about two and a half years in the role of Vice Dean. There was not a role of Vice Dean prior to me coming and the main aims are: to develop a vision and a strategy for the Institute around education; to raise the profile of education at the Institute and the College; to enhance the excellence of education; and to give the students the best experience possible. What do you think are the issues and challenges for women in science? I think there are challenges, from my own experience, perhaps specifically in terms of the mentoring of women. Women do not
always promote themselves. They need encouragement and need their confidence boosting in terms of putting themselves forward for things, so I think there are challenges at a personal and professional development level. I believe we could do more about this. Institutions and higher education institutions specifically, are still quite male dominated, so the institutional barriers and structures in institutions make it difficult for women to advance to the higher levels, if that is what they want to do, and so in this respect I feel mentoring is very important as well as a focus on structural institutional change. An issue we have identified is around family. Women either have to choose a family or a career. A career break after having children is also very challenging for women. There are some figures, especially in the health sciences, which indicate that at the PhD level the gender ratio is about 50/50, but when we reach postdoctoral level and lecturers the number of women drop off. It has been suggested that this could be because women are not supported when trying to come back to work after a career break, which is something Athena SWAN are trying to tackle... Yes, that’s been my experience and this links back to the mentoring issue. How institutions manage and perceive this needs to be addressed. Whether one likes it or not, women are usually still the parent who plays the greater role in the children, and
are perceived to be the ones who raise children. How to juggle the work-life balance is very hard. Athena SWAN is vital in beginning to change this culture, and enable women to achieve in both spheres. In the past women had to choose a career or children, now they can have both but achieving both those objectives in a balanced way is not easy. Do you have any advice you could give women who are aspiring to achieve in either research or a more management/ policy career post-PhD? I think it is really important to do what you are passionate about and actively seek out opportunities to engage in this. Talk to people about what the possibilities are and find out what the next steps might be. I don’t think I did this enough, the support structures just weren’t there. Now there is more awareness and Athena SWAN has an important role in raising awareness and bringing about institutional change. So even if there aren’t formal support or mentoring structures, women should seek guidance and the advice from others. And, of course, believe in themselves!
Who would you like to see on our couch in the next issue? Post your suggestions on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheLookingGlass2012
Call for submissions The Looking Glass is accepting submissions for future editions. We accept articles, reviews, news and interviews on a psych theme. So get creative and send us your articles to: email@example.com
For more detailed submission criteria visit: www.facebook.com/TheLookingGlass2012
Editor Rhianna GoozĂŠe
Editorial Assistants Analucia Alegria Anthony Harrison Dr Jorge Palacios Dr Andres Herane Vives
Contributors Emma Greenlees Lindsey Hines John Mills Hadiza Mohammed Steffen Nestler Prof. Jim Orford Emma Palmer Sapphire Weerakone
With thanks to Dr Paola Dazzan Dr Alice Egerton Professor Shitij Kapur Professor Elizabeth Kuipers Professor Susan Lea Professor Ann McNeill Dr Argyris Stringaris Dr Heather Williams
Thanks to everyone who has helped to support us in producing the third issue and promoting The Looking Glass, including Louise Pratt and other members of the Press Office.
Published on Sep 21, 2013
The third issue of the IoP postgraduate student magazine is here. With interviews, articles, news and more, this issue has a special focus o...