AudioLab academic Dr Jude Brereton was invited by the Engineering and Environment Faculty of Northumbria University, Newcastle, to lead a one-day workshop on gender equality and the Athena SWAN charter awards in May. Staff members from the departments of Computing, Architecture and Mechanical & Construction Engineering gathered to discuss approaches to improving gender balance in engineering. Participants were keen to know more about the interventions and day-to-day actions we have undertaken in the Department of Electronic Engineering at York, where we won an Athena SWAN Bronze award in 2016.
There were fantastic discussions during the day on lots of aspects of gender equality and diversity including: how to attract more female students into engineering courses, how vital that engineering includes a diversity of people and experiences, what can be done to improve work-life balance for all University staff, how to fix the ‘leaky- pipeline’. A key topic for the day included an agreement that “Engineering is … … the art and practice of changing the physical world for the benefit of all” and therefore should be open to participation by all.
As the three departments at Northumbria consider applying for Athena SWAN awards Jude has agreed to act as a critical friend and hopes that we can share between York and Newcastle ‘what works’ and even ‘what doesn’t work’ for improved gender equality and inclusion.