…and a Happy New Year!

2012 was quite a year for ScienceGrrl.

We formed in June, and in just over 4 months produced our beautiful 2013 calendar. Following the launch party in October, over 850 copies of the calendar have flown out to take their places in homes, schools and offices across the world.

The Christmas break has given us all chance to rest up, take a step back, and grin like Cheshire cats at the thought of these images of female scientists and women inspired by science (plus a few guys!) from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines heading out to enlighten, inform and challenge stereotypes about science and scientists. More grin-inducing still, though, are the opportunities we’ve had as a result of making the calendar to talk about who we are and what matters to us, and connect with a whole host of others who are also keen to raise the profile of female scientists.

We’ve featured in national newspapers; been interviewed for radio, podcasts and websites; got hands-on live science onto the Radio4 Today programme; gathered over 2000 followers on Twitter and connected with more on facebook; spoken to a wide variety of professional bodies, like-minded organisations, political parties, and individuals (including a few high-profile ones like Prof Brian Cox) who wanted to find out more and explore possibilities for collaboration. We have talked, nattered, discussed, chatted, and nodded in agreement like never before. It’s been great. ScienceGrrl is growing from a calendar production team, to an executive committee supported by a wider network of (predominantly) female scientists who share our passion for passing our love of science, technology, engineering, and maths to the next generation.

The question ringing in all our minds now is, what next? Through all these conversations, and our consultation process, we’ve identified that there are things we can do to encourage more girls to consider science and support women already in scientific careers. We’ll be helping bring more young people into contact with real scientists, developing online and regional networks to encourage women already ‘in the business’, and continuing to raise the profile of female scientists in the media and mainstream culture. The calendar, bag, USB stick and badge sales mean we also have some money to get these things off the ground – so a big thankyou to everyone who came to us to do their Christmas shopping.

We’ll be doing most of this in partnership with the awesome people we’ve met in the last few months. One reason for this is that we want to strengthen what is already being done and add to it, and see no point in ‘competing’ with the great projects and initiatives others have started. The other reason is that most of the people who have got involved with ScienceGrrl so far are science students or professional scientists, which does give us valuable personal insight and authenticity, but also means we don’t have lots and lots of time to spare. We have come this far due to the efforts of hard-working volunteers and we are always looking for more. So, if you are able to donate some of your time and energy to help us do cool stuff that makes a difference in 2013, please send us a message. If there’s something you’ve started (or are desperate to start) that fits in with our aims, tell us about that too.

So, cheers m’dears. Here’s to 2013 – let’s go change the world.

Happy New Year!