ScienceGrrl started out as a reaction to *that* EC video, which spawned the idea to create a series of images representing who female scientists are and what they do – the ScienceGrrl 2013 calendar. In the process we collected a network of people who are passionate about passing on their love of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the next generation. We could have just stopped at the calendar… but I wasn’t alone in thinking it would be a tragedy to dissolve this network of enthusiastic volunteers, when there were other things left to do in tackling the problems we had highlighted.

As I’ve said from the beginning, ScienceGrrl isn’t “mine”, it belongs to all our members. Also, I know we are not the only ones who are working on tackling the under-representation of women in science and complex jumble of factors that influence that. So we went out to consultation, and following that consultation, many phone calls, a fair amount of head-scratching and the use of some fairly epic spreadsheets (love a good spreadsheet, me) we came up with our strategy, which was launched at the AGM and voted in unanimously.

You can read the strategy in all its glory here, but it was beautifully summarised at the AGM by artists Adrian and Rachel Haak. I find these ‘visual minutes’ useful in terms of helping me recall the major themes of the discussion and how they inter-relate, but more than that, they remind me of the scale of our ambition. It’s audacious, but I find that inspiring rather than intimidating. I particularly love how collaboration, partnership and flexibility are at the centre, represented as our DNA, with specific projects shown as additional – expressions of that definitive ethic. The whole drawing is below – click on it to enlarge.

ScienceGrrl's AGM ArtBoard

ScienceGrrl’s AGM ArtBoard

Whilst we’ve big ideas and ambitions, we’re also aware than Rome (or gender equality in science) isn’t built in a day. It’s important, particularly as a grassroots network of volunteers, that we take developments at a sustainable pace. So this year is a year of trying things out, developing collaborations, finding out where we’re most needed and the difference we’re best placed to make. And we intend to have a lot of fun doing all this cool stuff. Watch this space.

If you’d like to fully get on board with what we’re doing, receive regular updates from me, be the first to hear about invite-only events, and eventually (sometime this year!) gain access to a members-only discussion forum on our website, please sign up as a ScienceGrrl member. It’ll only cost you £5 for a year and all of that will go towards resourcing ScienceGrrl’s work.

Dr Heather Williams
Heather helped establish ScienceGrrl in June 2012 and is ScienceGrrl's Director. Heather is a Senior Medical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine at Central Manchester University Hospitals and honorary Lecturer in the Centre for Imaging Sciences at Manchester University. She makes sure pictures of patients are top quality so the doctors can trust what they see, and tries out new and better ways of imaging the body’s functions. When she’s not working, Heather enjoys running, cycling and spending time with her sons.
Dr Heather Williams
Dr Heather Williams