The Summit raised some typical questions, such as: What can we do about the ‘leaky pipeline’? Can we bring about positive change without quotas?

In the run-up to this year’s Gender Summit (6-7 November), I must admit I was feeling a little sceptical about the event.

Having checked the list of delegates the week before, I found that it mainly consisted of researchers, academics, and similar organisations to those at the first Gender Summit that I also attended in 2011.

And so, I found myself asking: “… where were the policy makers – those who can bring about change in Europe?”

However, as the event drew nearer, the hype increased and the names that were flooding into the sold-out summit offered more hope.

By the time me and my colleague, Eira, arrvied in Berlin, we were equipped with our very own ‘social media promotion plan’!

To draw attention to the significant impact that Chwarae Teg; a relatively small charity in Wales, is making in tackling gender inequality in employment.

We didn’t lose sight of the main reason for attending — to promote the latest women in STEM recommendations for Wales.

The recommendations were presented by Hillary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor for Strategic Development & Research at Swansea University. ( I’m pleased to say Chwarae Teg also contributed to Hillary’s presentation ).

The Summit raised some typical questions such as: What can we do about the leaky pipeline? Can we bring about positive change without quotas? How do we increase women’s participation in decision making?

The answers were fairly obvious, and there was quite a lot of head-nodding amongst the mainly female audience. Nevertheless, the exciting parts for me were the individual break-time chats.

Generally, we were all in agreement that it’s high-time action is taken, that sharing research is useful; including highlighting initiatives that actually work, and adopting good practice across Europe is what’s really needed.

Hillary created a real buzz and injected some much needed humour since every session lasted a considerable amount of time, and all were based solely on PowerPoint presentations!

Of course, the audience were keen to hear recommendations about STEM in Wales, but they were also eager to learn more about the real changes occurring in Wales through practical measures.

The Athena Swan programme was cited as a method of good practice, as was the work of Chwarae Teg.

Additionally, a real push for unconscious bias training in the recruitment process for STEM was a common thread throughout the event.

A big thank you to Hilary for promoting our work and a pat on the back to the organisers, who run it as a not-for profit summit; keeping gender equality in STEM and research on the European map.

 

Written by Amy Kordiak, @AmyKordiak.