WITSWORDS January/February 2015
January/February 2015

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WITS Update

Welcome to WITSWORDS January/February 2015.

In this newsletter:
  • WITS Events
  • Membership 2015
  • Forthcoming events
  • STEM and gender news.
WITS is twenty-five years old this year and we hope to celebrate this. We're still here thanks to all our committed members over the years who volunteer and run WITS - thank you all.

WITS Event #1 2015

WITS members and friends gathered on 22 January in the Science Gallery Dublin for a talk by Dr Helen Sheridan of the School of Pharmacy Trinity College Dublin. Helen's talk From Caterpillars to Clinical trials - A personal and scientific journey outlined her science journey from her initial interest in science through her caterpillar collection through her studies to her career. She identified her key mentors including Professor Dervilla Donnelly who supervised her PhD in UCD and who was at the talk. Her work now encompasses teaching, running a lab working with natural molecules to make medicines, working with disabled students to give them access to science as well as outreach and encouraging others to come into sciences. The outcome of her work on natural molecules is now the subject of a clinical trial. Thanks Helen for an engaging and inspiring talk and thanks to all who attended.

WITS Corporate members 2015
We are delighted to welcome Silicon Republic, the Science Gallery and the ESB as corporate members for 2015.

WITS Membership 2015
The Executive as required by the AGM has agreed the following fees for 2015:
  • Students affiliate members €0 with no vote at the AGM and members’ fees for events.
  • Students/unwaged /retired full membership €15
  • New full members – as a special offer for 2015, €25 for one year to celebrate WITS 25 years.
  • Full members €40
  • Small and medium enterprises 3 members for the price of 2.
Please renew your WITS membership for 2015 here. There will be a separate membership email next week.

WITS Members' Survey
This is the last chance to take the WITS Members' Survey here, please do and thank you if you have already done so.

Dates for your diary - WITS and STEM events 2015

WITS Executive meeting 18 February 2015 6.30 pm Science Gallery
The next meeting of the WITS Executive.

WITS Event #2 2015  Tour of LIFELOGGING LAB Science Gallery Dublin
6.30 pm Thursday 26 February 2015.

There will be a tour of the forthcoming LIFELOGGING LAB exhibition at the Science Gallery, booking will open shortly, please book your place here. There are 15 places on the tour.

STEM Events
February 2015
  • 5 February Launch of Athena Swan Charter for women in STEM in Ireland sponsored by the HEA. Professor Eileen Drew of WISER TCD is the chair of the Irish committee.
  • 8-14 February  Engineers Week 2015 
  • 8 February Engineers Ireland Wikipedia event Rebecca O’Neill who organised the Women in STEM Editathon to celebrate Ada Lovelace day is organising an engineering editahon next Sunday 8 February at Engineers Ireland. Click on this link to find out more and book a place here.  
  • 12 February LIFELOGGING LAB exhibition at the Science Gallery.
  • 23-27 February UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2015 has a focus on women in STEM. Please take a photo of how you use your phone and upload the image via Twitter to @NewsTalkFM using the hashtag #MLW2015.
March 2015
  • 8 March Unconference to celebrate International Women's Day. Information to follow.
April 2015
  • 16 April Focus on Women in Light event at TCD to celebrate the International Year of Light.  WITS is delighted to support this event organised by Eithne McCabe along with the TCD Physics Women in Physics/Juno committee, the Institute of Physics Women in Physics Group, the national committee for the International Year of Light (IYL 2015) and WiSER. Booking information to follow.
June 2015
  • 18, 19 June Inspire 2015, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin. This is a major two day event with the theme of Perspectives on Leadership, Innovation and Diversity in STEM. It is being organised by Ann O'Dea and Silicon Republic. More information on the website and early bird tickets available now here.  Watch out for competitions and special offers and there is a volunteer programme as well.
  • 20 June Soapbox Science Belfast. The event aims to showcase the best of research done by women in Ireland. Applications to speak at the event are now open and will close on February 22nd. The link to apply is here: The event in Dublin in 2014 was a great success and everyone enjoyed themselves, from speakers and volunteers to unsuspecting tourists who had planned to see the Book of Kells but heard about cutting edge science instead.


Why do women stay in STEM?
Congratulations to Anna Porter of Newpark Comprehensive School, Dublin on being highly commended for her study of Why Women Stay in STEM? at the 2015 BT Young Scientist and Engineers Exhibition in January. Anna thanks all who did her survey and WITS for circulating it to members. She found that:
  • a genuine interest or passion for STEM appears to be the main reason why a woman would chose STEM subject and subsequently follow career.
  • parents and teachers appear to be the most influential in teh choice of a woman to do STEM
  • One reason for leaving a STEM career was. . . trying to balance a heavy workload and family life
  • Other issues were: lack of job security, sexism/positive bias towards the male employee, culture and lack of clarity about job prospects.
Anna's work echoes some themes in the UK WISE Campaign Not for people like me report.
Similarly the Brightwater Information Technology Survey 2014 available here identifies the gender imbalance in IT as one of the emerging trends.

2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowships

2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowships are for female postdoctoral researchers working in the field of life or physical sciences. Applications are now open here and the closing date is 13 March 2015. Please circulate the link widely. It would be great to have an Irish fellow this year.

Gender news

Women on Boards
The EU fact sheet on Women on Boards is available here. Ireland at 10.9% is well below the EU average of 20.2% for the representation of women on the board of large listed companies. There has been a +2.5% increase in the share of women on boards since 2010.  You can apply to be considered for an Irish State Board here. Should we encourage all WITS members to register an interest?

European Institute for Gender Equality
Have a look at the website here. There are useful fact sheets.

NUI Galway Task Force on gender equity will be chaired by former WITS member and former TCD Vice-provost Professor Jane Grimson. We wish Jane and her team all the best as they examine gender issues at NUI Galway.

News from members

We welcome news from members. If you have events, initiatives or just something you think of interest to WITS members please email WITS and we'll do our best to include it in the next newsletter.

Vicky Twomey Lee WITS Executive members sends notice of the following workshops and meetups, thanks Vicky.

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