Female Role Models and Mentors – could be the key to more women in science

Blonde-with-chemicals-small I was interested in this article about reaching gender equity in science especially because it picks up on an area which I focus on in both my book and during my Beyond The Boys Club Boot Camps – the key factor of having female role models and mentors. The article gives some great examples of women in leadership, working in science and engineering who have become mentors and role models – some of them specifically because they had no role model when they started out. As Geraldine Richmond, a professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon, says ‘one of the factors that has inspired more women to pursue scientific careers has been having examples of successful women who have done the same’. Aoife Moloney, a lecturer at the School of Electronic and Communications Engineering at Dublin Institute of Technology says she has always been in the minority and this inspired her to take part in Role Model Day at her institute. She explains "that has been very successful. We invite women engineers working in industry mainly. They talk to second level students about doing engineering.” The good news coming out of this is that the proportion of female graduates in most scientific fields has never been higher. According to findings reported in the NRC's (National Research Council) Gender Differences, although women are underrepresented in the applicant pool for faculty positions in many fields, those who do apply are hired at rates equal to or higher than those for men.

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