Tag Archives: Diversity


SEPnet celebrates Women’s International Day!

SEPnet continues to celebrate the achievements of female physicists and encourage young women to pursue careers with physics through its outreach and employability programmes.

While only 20% of physics students are female, 30% of students attending SEPnet and GRADnet events are female and 40% of summer placements are secured by female physics students. Role models and case studies are important sources of inspiration and you can read about some of our successful alumni and placement students on our website.

All SEPnet partners are signed up to Project Juno and Athena SWAN to support gender equality and women’s career progression with 3 partners achieving Champion status to date. SEPnet partners share good practice through SEPnet’s diversity workshops and E&D Champions LinkedIn group. SEPnet and IOP’s successful joint careers panel for female physicists has led to the creation of the SEPnet Careers Forum for Female Physicists, a supportive group, where students and female physicists in business and academia can share issues related to women’s progression in the workplace.

Through its Outreach & Public Engagement programme, SEPnet continues to explore innovative projects that tackle Gender Stereotyping in Schools. The results of our pilot project, Shattering Stereotypes, are available on our website, including twelve recommendations for other physics departments who are looking to run similar projects. SEPnet will be using this learning to run the project in the 2018 / 19 academic year. If your school is interested please do get in touch with the outreach and public engagement team.


SEPnet Outreach highlights the importance of Shattering Stereotypes on International Women’s Day.

This International Women’s Day, SEPnet Outreach is launching their Shattering Stereotypes Careers Evenings and Physics Graduate Case Studies resources. Across our Shattering Stereotypes Schools we will be holding networking sessions between Year 8 students, their parents and a variety of physics graduates of all genders who have gone to have amazing careers in business, industry and other sectors showing the breadth of opportunities available to them.

Students will be encouraged to look beyond gender and pick graduates they would like to network with based on their and the graduates Type of Scientist (previously developed for SEPnet / WISE’s People Like Me resource).

The evenings will also have a short talk highlighting the issues of Gender Stereotyping and Unconscious Bias. Gender Stereotyping in an issue which affects people of all genders at school. It has an influence on subject choices at GCSEs, which leads to fewer girls taking A-Level physics and therefore also at university. Additionally it affects boys taking up other subjects seen as more traditional girl subjects such as English and psychology. (See Closing Doors / Opening Doors reports by IOP).

If you would like to use these graduates as Case Studies in your own classroom or outreach activities, you can download the set here. The physics graduates in this set span gender, ethnicity, sexuality, career type and type of scientist. They have been developed to showcase the sheer variety of opportunities physics can open up. This could help embed STEM careers in science lessons, break the science = scientist link and help build science capital with students and their parents. (See Aspires Report)

If you studied physics at university and would like to take part in the project, please sign up here. If you can’t make one of our events, we are looking to expand the set of Case Studies and especially include graduates who identify as female and are also from an ethnic minority, so that we can explore issues around intersectionality in future workshops.

The Shattering Stereotypes pilot project is investigating how the SEPnet Outreach can help raise awareness of Gender Stereotyping in schools. The pilot project is taking place across five schools:

An evaluation report will be made available towards the end of 2017.

If you would like more information on the project, please do get in touch.


SEPnet sponsors the WISE ‘People Like Me’ Resource pack and app

SEPnet is delighted to support the launch of new resources by Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) who have produced a set of training and teaching resources for teachers, STEM Ambassadors and an interactive app for girls to help educate and inspire.

At the British Science Festival in Bradford yesterday, Stephanie McGovern, journalist and broadcaster, hosted the launch of the ‘People like me’ resource pack and app which is is the first novel approach to increasing the number of girls in science in 30 years. Research conducted by WISE in the Not for people like me report, found that talking about scientists and engineers and what they do often doesn’t attract girls. Instead, allowing girls to look at the sort of person they are and how their attributes correspond to roles in these sectors does.

AverilMacDonaldSEPnet’s Professor Averil MacDonald produced the Not for people like me report and spoke at the launch of the new resource packs.

The resource packs are available from  here: PeopleLikeMe_SEPnet_mainpack