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NUI Galway’s School of Physics recognised for commitment to gender equality

Women are under-represented in physical science at every level – but NUI Galway is trying to change this.

NUI GALWAY’S SCHOOL of Physics has been recognised for its work in promoting equal opportunities in science.

The Institute of Physics has made NUI Galway the first university in Ireland to be made a Practitioner under the Institute’s Juno Project.

The Juno Project was established by the Institute in 2007, and aspires to redress the issue of the under-representation of women at the highest levels of physics academia in the UK and Ireland.

Achievement

According to Dr Miriam Byrne, co-ordinator of the Juno project in NUI Galway, while this is a significant achievement within the university,” it must also be acknowledged that both nationally and internationally, women at every level in physical science are under-represented”.

We have a reasonable proportion of women in our undergraduate cohort but at postgraduate and senior academic staff level there are far fewer women. This is a concern if female undergraduates do not see role models to encourage them to take up careers in science.

Professor Andy Shearer, Head of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, spoke about the school’s commitment to gender equality.

“The School of Physics is committed to increasing the number of women taking Physics courses and our participation in the Juno project is part of this,” he said.

We hope that in future years this will increase the number of female graduates coming out of NUI Galway with a Physics degree.

The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate that action has been taken to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men.

Currently, women make up 20 per cent of physics undergraduates across Ireland and the UK – but this number drops to 7 per cent further along academia at the level of university professor. This suggests that female physicists are less likely than their male counterparts to progress into the most senior positions in physics.

The Juno principles improve working culture for all departmental staff, creating, for example, flexible working arrangements, provision for childcare and a more transparent organisational structure.

Here is more about the Juno Project:


(IOP/YouTube)

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