2, Institute of Physics, Dublin, , Ireland
3, Dublin City University, Dublin, , Ireland
4, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, , Ireland
5, Physics, Queens University, Belfast, , United Kingdom
Physics is one of the core disciplines in Materials Science and Engineering. Therefore, it is important for the next generation of researchers, especially females, to see that there are successful pathways to a sustainable career in academia.
Successful pipelines must be supported. As each stage of the pipeline, it has been shown that females are less likely to engage unless they can see what success looks like. This is evidenced in a sense of belonging and exposure to successful role models. It is therefore essential to highlight the success of women in physics, in order to inspire the next generation.
Research carried out in Ireland has shown that females are successful when they engage with physics. In particular female researchers are very successful in obtaining research funding when compared to other disciplines. Ireland has seen strong females in academia challenge the status quo and this has resulted in positive initiatives to encourage the promotion of females in academia. A study carried out in 2016 by the Higher Education Authority in Ireland captured the typical scissors view, where women are in the majority in the lower paid jobs in academia and greatly underrepresented when looking at the professor and the senior executive management level. This has resulted in the Higher Education Authority making gender equality in higher education a national priority as part of its funding compact with higher education institutions. It has also resulted in the linking of national funding to the attainment of Athena Swan Bronze Awards. This has focused attention on women in STEM, in particular. The Minister for Higher Education has highlighted the lack of movement towards gender equality in STEM and is responsible for the creation of a National Taskforce on Gender Equality. The Taskforce have reported and produced an action list to target inequality setting specific targets for the higher education sector.
This presentation tells the story of where women in Physics in Ireland are currently. It demonstrates how this is enabled by government policy. It reinforces the role the International Conference for Women in Physics has in tracking the journey and how Project Juno is enabling the physics community to improve gender equality.