Ada Lovelace day is a celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), says full-time Prospect organiser Jenny Andrew, herself a former research scientist.
Having worn that badge myself, it seems only natural to me to have a festival in honour of my ilk! But celebrating the giants of the past* and present is only the warm-up. Our real work is building a future in which STEM culture and institutions genuinely embrace diversity, in deeds as well as words. Enter Prospect…
Prospect represents about 50,000 members in STEM industries. We have power and a responsibility to make those workplace cultures and processes more welcoming to women, and to other underrepresented groups.
We campaign at the national level: lobbying; educating; raising awareness; collaborating with other organisations with common cause. But much of our progress is at the local level. We support our reps and members to win individual and collective cases that chip away at barriers to diversity.
Just last week, news broke that our members at the Met Office had settled their long-running challenge to a 10% gender pay gap.
Every day Prospect reps help individuals arrange flexible working that allows them to balance the competing demands of work and life.
Every day our members are empowered to challenge the kinds of casual, and systemic sexism that put many women (and men!) off careers in STEM.
Gender equity is much more than words for Prospect. In the time I’ve belonged to the union, I’ve watched with pride the feminisation of both the lay leadership and the staff. Our own gender diversity gives the insight to support our gender diverse membership. It also gives us authority to tell employers to “do as we say, and as we do”.
If you want to advance the cause of STEM inclusivity, join Prospect today and let us help you get active!
* Ada Lovelace was a 19th-century mathematician, regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a “computing machine” and the first computer – read about her here.
Related Prospect resources
- Career aspirations with Wilbury School video
- Download Women’s PPE: One size does not fit all
- Introduction to unconscious bias web pages
• Jenny Andrew is a full-time Prospect organiser and a former research scientist.