STEM Equals

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Abstract

There is a growing body of scientific literature that suggests women are actively and passively discriminated against in academia, and that the problem is particularly persistent across Engineering and Sciences. For example, in 2012, a study was published where applications that had been randomly assigned a male or female name, were rated for a Physics Laboratory Manager position. Recruitment panels rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. They also offered a higher starting salary and more career mentoring to the male.
The experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) academics in Science and Engineering are considerably less well-studied than those of women. This may be as result of the extremely low numbers of LGBT staff that are out at work in Science and Engineering Faculties (as compared to the Arts and Humanities). One published study interviewed LGB Engineering students and found that engineering departments were viewed as hostile by the majority of LGB-identifying students and that most navigated this heteronormative engineering climate by 'passing' as heterosexual. The low numbers of openly LGBT staff would suggest that this is a common experience.

The STEM Equals project aims to develop initiatives that will improve equality and diversity for female and LGBT staff across the Science and Engineering Faculty at the University of Strathclyde. We will then expand our initiatives to encompass other Faculties, reach out to collaborative research partners in industry and share best practice with other Universities throughout the UK.We will build on existing initiatives, supporting women within the Faculty of Engineering, to develop a comprehensive programme of gender- and LGBT-related equality and diversity activities. We aim to: encompass a broader equality and diversity agenda; fully include the Faculty of Science; develop a joint equality learning experience with key industry-university research partners; undertake research to understand specific challenges and develop new initiatives; reach out to other local Universities and strategic industry partners to share best practice.

Planned Impact

The ethos of the STEM Equals project is to have impact on diversity, equality and inclusion in academia. Each individual activity has been carefully designed, and described in detail, to achieve this. Example impacts would be:
- A reduction in the gender pay-gap
- An inclusive environment for LGBT staff that results in a high percentage of staff feeling sufficiently comfortable as to be out at work.
- Mechanisms to retain leadership of their research areas for staff on maternity/paternity/adoption or carer leave
- An increased number of female PIs on successful applications to the Research Councils, specifically EPSRC.

Impact will be measured through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are well-known to drive behavioural change, so their appropriateness will be discussed with female and LGBT academics during the course of the project. Initial suggestions are: the percentage of female STEM academics at each grade within the University; the career trajectories of female STEM academics (i.e. time spent at each grade by comparison to their male counterparts) - see A4; an increase in the number of grants with female PIs submitted to, and awarded by, EPSRC; the number of members and attendees in the female networks (to demonstrate a reduction in female academic isolation); an increased public profile for LGBT STEM activities in the University (measured via the number of web-based and public activities); the number of LGBT staff that are out at work; the number of LGBT staff that are members of the private staff network; the number of applicants for STEM positions that declare as LGBT (we expect this to ultimately rise in response to LGBT STEM achievements being widely promoted).

Project continuity and durable, long-term impact is ensured by the high-level of commitment provided by the University of Strathclyde. The University will continue to fund the project fully for a further two years during which time it will endeavour to roll-out successful initiatives across the remaining Faculties. Toward the end of the 4th year, there will be a project effectiveness review, the results of which will determine the level of central support required to sustain ongoing delivery and impact.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description To-date, research findings are through data collection from focus groups of staff and PhD students at the University of Strathclyde. Data has been collected from at total of 38 staff and 42 students, from across all faculties in the University. These groups were interviewed within a controlled environment and asked a series of questions to understand the experience of women and LGBT+ staff and research students in STEM at Strathclyde. Preliminary findings have identified occurrences in both good and bad practice common to multiple staff/students, as well as some underlying cultural issues within the University. Draft reports are in progress for delivery to the University's Senior Management Team.
Exploitation Route Whilst is still early within the duration of the award, it would be encouraging if other parties adopt similar approaches to survey within their organisations on the experiences of women and LGBT+ colleagues. It is often the case that by undertaking such surveys that many other issues and practices are identified and staff often feel more empowered to raise issues of bias or discrimination that they might otherwise not mention.
Sectors Education,Other

 
Description Findings of the focus groups, designed to determine the experience of female and LGBT staff within STEM at Strathclyde, is already feeding into University policy at a Senior Executive level. The dignity and respect policy is being redrafted as to incorporate a cultural of inclusivity. The University is considering how to resource this policy to provide independent go-to advisors for both staff and students. The STEM Equals project will launch the University's first LGBT network on March 25th, 2020 with 25 staff members signed-up for the launch event. The creation of this network, and the accompanying allies training, has the potential for a very positive impact on inclusivity within the University. The call for Pump-Priming awards for female PIs has been launched. These projects will be pre-cursors to larger EPSRC submissions in the following year.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Education
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

 
Description Partnership with Glasgow Life/Glasgow Libraries: Scottish Government School Improvement Fund project "See Yourself in STEM" 
Organisation Glasgow Life
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The STEM Equals team have collaborated with Glasgow Life/Glasgow Libraries on their successful £20,090 Scottish Government School Improvement Fund project. The aim of the project is to enable students, particularly those from groups under- represented in STEM, to engage with science and technology around climate change through research and hands-on science activities to inspire them to consider a STEM career path.
Collaborator Contribution Project summary: The Cop 26 conference on climate change is being hosted in Glasgow this year. Many young people are engaged with the issue of Climate Change, but it can be a source of anxiety as they can feel like there is nothing they can do to make a difference, either now or in the future. This can be exacerbated by the fact that many young people view STEM as "not for people like me". The project will allow Si students in three schools to explore ideas, resources and practical activities around Climate Change during sessions in the school library, led by the school librarian, school STEM leaders and researchers from the University of Strathclyde, from other local universities, and from the Glasgow Science Centre. These researchers will be drawn particularly, though not exclusively, from under-represented groups such as women, LGBT, BAME and those who grew up in areas of deprivation, challenging students preconceived ideas about people working in STEM. The students will contribute to real scientific research through Citizen Science activities and meet researchers involved in studying a wide range of topics related to climate change. They will also be encouraged to contribute to a new Schools Libraries' blog, emphasizing the importance of communication skills and literacy in STEM. At the end of the project Si students will hold an event in a local Community Library for P7 students starting in the school after summer. They will help the younger students take part in hands-on STEM activities, becoming role models themselves and allowing the young people to meet the School Librarian and STEM teaching staff.
Impact The funding was awarded in February 2020 and the project commences March 2020, concluding in December 2020. Outputs and outcomes will be shared from the collaborative project including data collected with librarians, teachers, pupils, and parents.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Curiosity Live at the Glasgow Science Centre 7-9 November 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Glasgow Science Centre hosts Curiosity Live three times a year, showcasing local research, innovation and creativity. School pupils learn more about STEM careers from researchers who are carrying out ground-breaking work in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. T
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/discover/family-events/curiosity-live
 
Description LGBT+ in higher education: Building networks, making change, 25 March 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact LGBT+ in higher education: Building networks, making change
Please join STEM Equals and CILIA-LGBTQI+ for an afternoon focused on LGBT+ people in higher education. How can we build stronger networks? How can we create more inclusive research/working communities in which people feel like they can bring their whole selves to their research and their work (continuing discussions from the 2019 article in The GIST What does it mean to be seen?). To paraphrase a focus group participant for the STEM Equals project: We cannot take our identities off like a jacket and leave it by the door when we come to work in our offices or our labs or our classrooms (and we shouldn't feel like we have to). The event will conclude with a launch of the University of Strathclyde LGBT+ staff and PhD student network.
When: Wednesday 25th March 2020 from 1:00pm-4:00pm
1:00pm: A free light lunch will be served
1:30pm: Welcome and introduction
1:45pm-2:15pm: Keynote
2:15pm-3:30pm: Panel discussion and Q&A
3:30pm: Launching the University of Strathclyde LGBT+ staff and PhD student network
Where: Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) at the University of Strahtclyde, 99 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1RD
Free event; Spaces limited; Registration required
Welcome by Professor Yvette Taylor, School of Education, University of Strathclyde
Keynote Speaker: Dr Izzy Jayasinghe, Lecturer & UKRI Future Leader Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds
About Dr Jayasinghe: I am a UKRI Future Leader Fellow specialising in biophysics and biophotonics. My early training was as biomedical researcher, attaining my BSc and PhD at the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Since then, I have worked in the Universities of Queensland (Australia) and Exeter as a postdoc. In 2015, I was appointed as a lecturer in the University of Leeds where I have developed and refined new microscopy methods to visualise the molecular-scale features of cells which make up our vital organs. Aside from my day-to-day research and teaching work, I spend most of my time focusing on ways to improve Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) in universities though structures such as Athena SWAN and TIGERinSTEMM. My mission is to improve the career advancement, acceptance and fairness for women and gender minorities in STEMM at the intersections of LGBTQ+ identities, racial minorities and disability. To this end, I take a non-violent approach to raising awareness, tackling misinformation, improving inclusivity and improving the visibility of women and minorities in our workplaces. My ambition is to see universities in the UK become supportive spaces for marginalised groups, safe from hate speech, bullying, discrimination and harassment.
Panellists:
Dr Izzy Jayasinghe, UKRI Future Leader Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds
Dr Katie Nicoll Baines, School of Chemistry, co-chair, Staff Pride Network, University of Edinburgh
Dr Matson Lawrence, School of Education, University of Strathclyde
Dr Marco Reggiani, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Strathclyde
Professor Yvette Taylor, School of Education, University of Strathclyde
Jack Hao Yang, Physics Department, University of Strathclyde
Panel Facilitator: Dr Jessica Gagnon, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Strathclyde
About STEM Equals: The STEM Equals project is a four year research and impact project focused on women and LGBT+ people in STEM in both academia and in industry. Through an intersectional lens, the project focuses on working cultures within higher education and industry, including better understanding the experiences of and addressing systemic inequalities faced by women and LGBT staff in STEM disciplines. The project industry partner is BAM Nuttall and the project is funded by EPSRC under the Inclusion Matters initiative, with matched funding from the University of Strathclyde. On Twitter: @STEMEquals Website: www.stemequals.ac.uk
About CILIA-LGBTQI+: 'Comparing Intersectional Lifecourse Inequalities among LGBTQI+ Citizens in Four European Countries' (CILIA-LGBTQI+): Bringing together an international team of researchers, this 3 year EU-Norface funded project investigates the inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people across the lifecourse. The key objective is to provide cross-cultural evidence concerning life course inequalities experienced by LGBTQI+ people, comparing and contrasting across four European countries with different yet interrelated social, historical, economic and political backgrounds: England, Germany, Portugal and Scotland. The project also examines how inequalities related to gender and / or sexuality vary and intersect with others, such as social class, ethnicity, citizenship status, and so on. Twitter: @LGBTQILives Website: https://lgbtqilives.wordpress.com/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://lgbtinhe.eventbrite.co.uk
 
Description Presentation at the Advance HE Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference 17 March 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Title: STEM Equals: Creating more inclusive STEM communities

Abstract: This presentation will provide an overview of the STEM Equals project's aims, research, initiatives, and activities. Additionally, it outlines the outreach and dissemination strategy of the project including social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook @STEMEquals) and the project website (www.stemequals.ac.uk) which showcases profiles, blog posts, podcasts, and updates from the ongoing research. STEM Equals is a four-year, mixed-methods project at the University of Strathclyde. Funded by EPSRC within the Inclusion Matters initiative, the project focuses on working cultures, including better understanding and addressing systemic inequalities faced by women and LGBT+ people in STEM.

Outline:

STEM Equals is a four-year, mixed-methods project at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Funded by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) within the Inclusion Matters initiative, and in collaboration with industry partner BAM Nuttall, the project focuses on working cultures, including better understanding and addressing systemic inequalities faced by women and LGBT+ people in STEM.

Globally, women face systemic inequalities in STEM disciplines. In the UK, women make up just 25% of the STEM workforce and only 13% of management roles (WISE, 2018). In Australia, women make up only 20.6% of senior professors in STEMM disciplines (SAGE, 2016). In the UK, 'almost 90% of grants awarded in the field of engineering and physical sciences over the past decade have gone to projects led by men' (Weale and Barr, 2018). A US study examining gender differences in guest speakers found that men were more likely than women to be invited speakers even after controlling for the gender and rank of the available speakers (Nittrouer et al., 2018).

Research on the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) people in STEM also reveals patterns of discrimination. In the UK, a study revealed that '28% of LGBT+ respondents stated that they had at some point considered leaving their workplace because of the climate or discrimination' (IoP, RAS, and RSC, 2019:5). Findings from the Queer in STEM project in the US showed that 'participants working in STEM fields with better representation of women reported a higher degree of [LGBT+] openness' and that 'those who reported a higher degree of openness in the workplace were more likely to describe their workplace as safe and welcoming' (Yoder and Mattheis, 2015:21).

This presentation will provide an overview of the STEM Equals project's aims, research, initiatives, and activities. STEM Equals launched in Autumn 2019 and the first phase of data collection is underway, including interviews and focus groups with women and LGBT+ PhD and academic staff.

STEM Equals project research aims and objectives include:
• Identify: Specific challenges women and LGBT+ staff and PhD students in STEM face; Best practices around equitable hiring/promotion processes in STEM; Best practices around support for and inclusion of women and LGBT+ staff and PhD students in STEM; Best practices around equitable working policies and practices that impact women and LGBT+ staff and PhD students in STEM.
• Inform improvements to: Hiring and promotion policies and processes; Policies and practices that impact working cultures/STEM communities.
• Evidence policies, practices, and initiatives that enable: More inclusive working cultures/STEM communities to build better belonging for women and LGBT+ staff and PhD students; Increasing numbers of women PIs on submitted research grants; Retention of women and LGBT+ talent in STEM; Support for diversity in STEM.

The theoretical frameworks upon which this study is built include: Intersectionality Theory (Metcalf, Russell, and Hill, 2018); Queer Theory and Feminist Theory (Gedro and Mizzi, 2014; Metcalfe et al., 2008); Minority Stress Theory (Velez, Moradi, and Brewster, 2013); and Social Identity Theory (Brown, 2000).

Keywords: Women; LGBT+; Inequalities; Inclusion; Diversity; Employment
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/programmes-events/conferences/EDIConf20
 
Description Presentation at the EPSRC Inclusion Matters Workshop, 12-13 February 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact STEM Equals presented about our project, focusing on innovation when it comes to design research and initiatives to create more inclusive STEM communities.

The day before the presentation, we engaged in a one-day event with the other postdoc researchers working at Inclusion Matters projects to share best practices and plan for future collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Presentation at the LGBTQ+ STEMinar 10 January 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Title: STEM Equals: Creating more inclusive STEM communities

Abstract: STEM Equals is a four-year, mixed-methods project at the University of Strathclyde. Funded by EPSRC within the Inclusion Matters initiative, the project focuses on working cultures, including better understanding and addressing systemic inequalities faced by LGBT+ people and women in STEM. This poster will provide an overview of the STEM Equals project's aims, research, initiatives, and activities.

Research on the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) people and women in STEM reveals patterns of discrimination. In the UK '28% of LGBT+ respondents stated that they had at some point considered leaving their workplace because of the climate or discrimination' (IoP, RAS, and RSC, 2019:5). Findings from the Queer in STEM project in the US showed that 'participants working in STEM fields with better representation of women reported a higher degree of [LGBT+] openness' and that 'those who reported a higher degree of openness in the workplace were more likely to describe their workplace as safe and welcoming' (Yoder and Mattheis, 2015:21). Women make up just 25% of the workforce and only 13% of management in STEM in the UK (WISE, 2018). In the UK, 'almost 90% of grants awarded in the field of engineering and physical sciences over the past decade have gone to projects led by men' (Weale and Barr, 2018).

STEM Equals launched in Autumn 2019. Find us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook @STEMEquals) and visit our website (www.stemequals.ac.uk).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://lgbtstem.wordpress.com/lgbt-steminar-2020/
 
Description STEM Equals Funding Call networking workshop, 18 March 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact STEM Equals invited applications for up to £5,000 of internal pump-priming funding for collaborative projects that are within the remit of EPSRC's research areas. The funding call and the event was open to staff in all Departments in the University. Interested staff were encouraged to attend the STEM Equals Funding Call networking event on Wednesday 18th March 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.stemequals.ac.uk/Initiatives-Resources/Funding-Opportunities/STEM-Equals-Funding-Call
 
Description STEM Equals launch celebration 28 October 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Attendance: 100 guests including research students, academics, industry professionals, funders, community leaders
When: Monday 28th October, 3:30pm-5:30pm
Where: Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) at the University of Strahtclyde, 99 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1RD
About the event: A panel of speakers will discuss working cultures in STEM, diversity in STEM, and the work that needs to be done to create more inclusive STEM communities within academia and industry.
Welcome provided by by Professor Scott MacGregor, Vice Principal, University of Strathclyde
Introduction to the EPSRC Inclusion Matters initative provided by Laura Watkin
Speakers:
Professor Becky Lunn, MBE, Professor and Head of the Centre for Ground Engineering and Energy Geosciences, University of Strathclyde
Professor Ijeoma F. Uchegbu, Pro-Vice Provost, Africa and The Middle East, Chair in Pharmaceutical Nanoscience, UCL
Dr Ben Britton, Senior Lecturer, Deputy Director, Centre for Nuclear Engineering, Lead, Experimental Micromechanics Group, Imperial College London
Dr Brynley Pearlstone, Physicist and founder/host of SciCurious podcast
Alasdair E Henderson, Global Director HR Business Partnering, BAM Nuttall
Zoë Davidson, PhD student, Physics, and founder of Equality, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Physics, University of Strathclyde
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stem-equals-launch-celebration-tickets-70614990337#
 
Description STEM Equals visit at Durham University, 6-7 February 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Visit at Durham University to liaise with another Inclusion Matters project, and to hold meetings with colleagues working in EDI and learn from some of their best practices.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description STEM Equals visit at Imperial College London, 15 November 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Visit at Imperial College London to hold meetings with colleagues working in EDI and learn from some of their best practices.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description STEMM Change Annual Conference 14 November 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact STEM Equals presented about our project, focusing on creating more inclusive STEM communities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stemm-change-annual-conference-tickets-62298681032
 
Description Scottish Research Partnership In Engineering (SRPe) Conference: STEM Equals presentation 13 November 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact STEM Equals gave both a poster and an interactive oral presentation at the Scottish Research Partnership In Engineering annual conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.strath.ac.uk/whystrathclyde/news/scottishresearchpartnershipinengineeringconference/
 
Description Universities Scotland Researcher Development and Training Committee Conference: STEM Equals presentation 4 November 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact STEM Equals presented a poster
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Vitae Researcher Development International Conference 16 September 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Poster abstract (up to 150 words)
STEM Equals is a four year, mixed methods research and impact project at the University of Strathclyde focused on women and LGBT people in STEM in both academia and in industry. The project will focus on working cultures within higher education and industry, including better understanding and addressing systemic inequalities faced by women and LGBT staff in STEM disciplines. There is potential for local, national, and global impact from the project findings (within and beyond higher education). The project is one of eleven funded by EPSRC for Inclusion Matters, focused furthering equality, diversity and inclusion in Engineering and Physical Sciences research, and the University of Strathclyde provided matched funding. The project industry partner is BAM Nuttall. Find STEM Equals on Twitter: https://twitter.com/STEMEquals and, launching in October, the project website will include profiles, blog posts, podcasts, interactive content, and updates from the ongoing research: www.stemequals.ac.uk

Aims of poster (bullet points up to 50 words)
• To provide an overview of the STEM Equals project
• To convey the aims and scope of the project
• To share the research and evaluation plans for the project
• To encourage collaboration and networking between the STEM Equals team and other project teams or individuals interested in inclusion and diversity

How will the poster add value for delegates? (up to 100 words)
The poster will provide an opportunity for delegates to learn more about the STEM Equals project, to ask questions about the aims and objects of the project, and to share ideas and best practices with the project team through discussions about the poster. Presenting the poster will enable connections to be made between similar projects and may provide opportunities for collaboration with other institutions and other research teams engaged in similar inclusion and diversity research and initiatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.vitae.ac.uk/events/past-events/vitae-researcher-development-international-conference-201...