Equality in Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics

IOP Institute of Physics: Juno PractitionerOnly 13% of all Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) jobs in the UK are held by women (WISE 2012).

Athena SWAN Bronze AwardAt the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics we encourage all our students to pursue careers in STEMM professions and support both the Juno project and the Athena SWAN Charter.

Meet some of our female role models

Professor Janet Drew

Professor Janet Drew

Janet trained as a physicist, and has been working in astronomy and astrophysics research since obtaining a PhD at UCL in 1980...

From big ideas to big data: a life in astrophysics
Dr Catarina Carvalho

Dr Catarina Carvalho

Catarina is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also a member of the London Mathematical Society...

View dr carvalho's profile
Dr Kristen Coppin

Dr Kristen Coppin

Kristen obtained a PhD in astrophysics in 2006. After post-doctoral positions at Durham University and McGill University, she was appointed Senior Lecturer...

View dr coppin's profile
Dr Evelyn Hesse

Dr Evelyn Hesse

Evelyn is a Senior Researcher at the Centre of Atmospheric and Instrumentation Research within the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics...

View dr hesse's profile
Mrs Carrie Ricketts

Mrs Carrie Ricketts

Carrie is a Lecturer in Actuarial Mathematics in the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics...

View mrs ricketts' profile
Nancy Hine

Nancy Hine

Nancy is a PhD student studying the evolution of galaxies in different environments. Her research project involves studying galaxies in the early Universe...

View hine's profile

How we support women in science

Project Juno and Athena SWAN

Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords. Project Juno and Athena SWAN act as catalysts to achieve this cultural shift.

In the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, the commitment to progressing women's careers in science and mathematics spans all levels, from undergraduate students to the Dean who was one of the founding members of the School's Juno programme and the University's Athena SWAN programme. We have therefore applied for the following awards:

  • More about Project Juno and the Athena SWAN Charter
    IOP Institute of Physics Juno Practitioner

    The Juno project

    Project Juno was established by the Institute of Physics (IoP) in 2007 in order to recognize and reward departments that can demonstrate they are actively encouraging good practice and addressing the underrepresentation of women in university physics.

    The School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics was awarded Juno Practitioner status by the Institute of Physics in January 2015. The panel judging the application stated that it was "very impressed with what was an incredibly well-structured submission" and that "The obvious commitment of senior management to the JUNO process is to be commended". The panel also invited staff and students within PAM to "celebrate your successes so far, and promote your achievements".

    Commenting on this achievement, the Dean of School Professor Sean Ryan said: "This is wonderful news. It's a tremendous boost in the School to know that our efforts so far have been recognised, and will strengthen our resolve to push ahead with promoting women in physics".

    As part of the application for Juno Practitioner status, the School-based Equality Committee reviewed a range of data (including staff surveys, interviews and HR data) and created an action plan.

    The Practitioner status is in place for three years and the school will be working towards Champion status in the near future.

    Athena SWAN

    Athena SWAN Bronze award

    The Athena SWAN Charter is an initiative run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) recognising commitment and excellence to addressing the underrepresentation of women and in advancing gender equality in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) in Higher Education.

    The Charter covers women in academic roles, the progression of students into academia, and the working environment for all staff.

    In 2015, the school also achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze departmental Award and is now looking ahead to progressing to the next level.

    Read more about the Athena SWAN programme at the University of Hertfordshire.

  • The Equality Committee: Meet the team

    We have assembled an Equality Committee in the School of Physics Astronomy and Mathematics. The Committee is chaired by Kristen Coppin (k.coppin@herts.ac.uk).

    Members of the team cover a range of roles including:
    - the Dean of School.
    - teaching staff from new lecturers to professors.
    - undergraduate and graduate students.
    - researchers.

    They all bring a rich range of real-life experiences to the Committee, including:
    - caring or childcare responsibilities.
    - dual-career families.
    - recent recruitment or promotion.

    EC membership - updated September 2016

    Dr Alan McCall
    - Other roles in School: Programme Tutor, Physics & Astrophysics
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Senior Lecturer
    - EC role(s): Quantitative Data Analysis
    - Work life balance: Carer, elderly parent

    Ms Michelle Bieger
    - Other roles in School: School Student Representative Organiser (SSRO)
    - Gender: F
    - Post: Final year UG student
    - EC role(s): UG student link

    Ms Sarah Bowes-Phipps
    - Other roles in School: Athena Swan Officer (University Equality Office)
    - Gender: F
    - Post: Athena Swan Officer
    - EC role(s): Quantitative & Qualitative data analysis
    - Work life balance:

    Mr David Campbell
    - Other roles in School: Principal Technical Officer
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Principal Technical Officer
    - EC role(s): Technical staff link

    Dr Kristen Coppin
    - Other roles in School: Deputy Admissions Tutor, Athena Swan SAT
    - Gender: F
    - Post: Senior Lecturer
    - EC role(s): Chair of the EC
    - Work life balance: Dual-career marriage and two children - one pre-school, one in education

    Dr. Reto Dorrizi
    - Other roles in School: Member of UH Pastoral Care Group
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Lecturer
    - EC role(s): Deputy chair of the EC

    Dr James Geach
    - Other roles in School: Athena Swan SAT, CAR management committee
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Royal Society University Research Fellow.
    - EC role(s): Athena Swan Link
    - Work life balance: Dual-career marriage and two children - one pre-school, one in education

    Professor Martin Hardcastle
    - Other roles in School: PAM IT+HPC
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Director of CAR (Centre for Astrophysics)
    - EC role(s): Women in Science
    - Work life balance: Dual career marriage and two children - one pre-school, one in education

    Dr Evelyn Hesse
    - Other roles in School: University of Hertfordshire Common Reading Programme – PAM link tutor
    - Gender: F
    - Post: Senior Research Fellow
    - EC role(s): Qualitative data; Women in Science, PAM Women's Champion

    Ms Nancy Hine
    - Gender: F
    - Post: PGR student
    - EC role(s): Women in Science

    Dr Steve Kane
    - Other roles in School: Chair of Exam Boards
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Associate Dean – Academic Quality
    - EC role(s): Staff Handbook
    - Work life balance: Dual-career marriage and two children - one pre-school, one in education

    Mrs Carrie Ricketts
    - Other roles in School: Placement and Year Abroad Tutor
    - Gender: F
    - Post: Lecturer in Actuarial Mathematics
    - EC role(s): Flexible working link
    - Work life balance: Dual-career marriage and school children.
    - PT academic and industrial roles.

    Prof. Sean Ryan
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Professor of Astrophysics
    - EC role(s): Data Analysis
    - Work life balance: Dual-career marriage and children in education

    Dr Mark Thompson
    - Other roles in School: Research
    - Gender: M
    - Post: Acting Dean of School
    - EC role(s): Data Analysis

    Jonathan Westcott
    - Other roles in School: Post Graduate Research Student Representative on SAC
    SEPnet Postgraduate Representative (for all SEPnet PGR students)
    - Gender: M
    - Post: PGR student
    - EC role(s): Research student link

  • What we do in the Equality Committee

    The PAM Equality Committee (EC) meets regularly and is currently ensuring that the action plans from our School's Athena SWAN Bronze and Juno Practitioner award submissions are being implemented. The EC reports quarterly at School meetings and input into this process is always welcome.

    Please contact Kristen Coppin (k.coppin@herts.ac.uk), the EC Chair, to find out more.

  • Women in PAM Network

    The Women in Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics (PAM) network was established in August 2014 and is coordinated by Nancy Hine (second-year PhD student, Astrophysics) and Dr Xin Kong (postdoctoral research assistant, Atmospheric Physics).

    The network, which has no official structure, complements the PAM Equality Committee which is working towards JUNO Champion Status and Athena SWAN recognition. The Network meets informally once a semester during lunch.

    The Women in PAM Network lunches give female staff and students within PAM the opportunity to network, discuss ideas for useful events and identify further support structures required.

  • Case studies

    Read case studies of women in STEMM professions from across the University of Hertfordshire.

  • Initiatives and achievements

    We have already achieved the Juno Supporter Award through our endorsement of the Juno principles and commitment to taking action towards achieving the next award levels.

    Our School provides support for PAM women (students and staff) to attend national and regional events, e.g. IoP Juno workshops, Women in physics events.

    Our Open Days and outreach events include women from PAM to provide female role models.

    New staff undertake mandatory Equality and Diversity training as part of their University induction.

    We ensure that women undergraduates have other women students in their tutorial and laboratory groups, so they don't feel isolated.

  • Useful links and resources

    Athena SWAN at the University of Hertfordshire

    Athena SWAN support for students and staff

    Equality and Diversity at the University of Hertfordshire

    Gazing at the future: The experiences of male and female physics and astronomy doctoral students in the UK
    The underrepresentation of women in physics and astronomy is an ongoing concern. This gender imbalance potentially holds back a significant cohort from using their talent and potential in physics. This report presents the findings of a survey of around 1000 male and female doctoral students in physics and astronomy and their differing experiences, and provides a number of key recommendations for departments, funders and professional societies.

    IoP Carers Fund
    IoP members who are carers can access up to £250 towards extra caring expenses.

    Professor Dame Athene Donald's blog
    Athene is a professor of physics at the University of Cambridge working on soft matter and biological physics. She has an active interest in issues around women in science.

    Project Juno at the IoP

    Resources for Women in Physics
    Plethora of grants/awards for carers, women returners, women in science and general collection of useful links and resources for women in physics - should not be missed!

    Resources for women in science, with an interesting report about women in STEM subjects

    A consortium of physics departments in nine universities

    The Athena SWAN Charter for women in STEMM

    Resources and events to help young girls and women on their career paths in STEMM.

    Women in STEMM Network at the University of Hertfordshire

Support from the Dean

"As a husband endeavouring to support my wife in achieving her career aspirations alongside my own, and as a father and primary carer of two young children, I recognise some of the personal and cultural pressures which affect women in pursuing their career choices. When these pressures operate in an environment in which women are already underrepresented, as in physics and mathematics, both conscious and unconscious biases can act against their progression. The Juno and Athena Swan programmes allow us to focus our efforts to address these biases in a more concerted and effective way."

Sean Ryan, Professor of Astrophysics and Dean of School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics

Becoming a Juno Champion


See a list of Athena SWAN news from the University of Hertfordshire.