Making Waves: A Roundtable Seminar at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering (WICGE) and the Challenger Society for Marine Sciences recently hosted a roundtable seminar at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton. The Challenger Society is one of the oldest societies dedicated to the promotion and support of the marine sciences in the UK and Ireland; the NOC is an internationally leading marine science research facility and a teaching and technology development centre. It was a brilliant opportunity to bring gender diversity issues into the forefront of the marine science research community.

The event was organised by Lidia Carracedo Segade, the Diversity and Early Career Support Officer of the Challenger Society, and WICGE aim and activities were presented by discussed by Irene Delgado-Fernandez, Luciana Esteves and Siddhi Joshi. We discussed the #7Steps to reduce gender inequality and the findings of the survey published in Palgrave Communications. Small meetings are a useful platform to exchange experiences with international researchers and share ideas to address the situation on the ground- in the day to day work environment.

The findings of WICGE’s survey generated a substantial amount of interest, and inspired researchers to speak up. There was considerable variation even within different groups in the same organisation, suggesting discipline related differences within the marine science research groups. Some attendees said that a few times they wanted to express their views to certain organisations/groups, but decided not to due to fear of retaliation/impact on career progression. We want to emphasise to our WICGE members that we can act as a medium of communication between individuals and organisations/groups, as an umbrella organisation.

It was encouraging to see that senior management at NOC take issue of gender inequality seriously, and there was a genuine concern to ensure that formal initiatives and existing employment laws were reflected in the lived experiences of female researchers. It is very important that such opportunities are offered by the senior management in both academia and industry play a key role in providing such opportunities, as well as researchers at the forefront of research excellence in marine and coastal geosciences and engineering. If you or your organisation would be interested in co-hosting a roundtable discussion at your university or institute, please do get in touch with us!



Posted on: 16/12/2019, by :