The event will also highlight the many opportunities there are for women to pursue a career in the STEM subjects. It is the only festival of its kind to focus on celebrating women in science and this year will present a range of talks, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions and family fun days. The festival starts on International Women’s Day on March 8th and concludes on March 24th, the end of National Science and Engineering Week.
Studies have shown that less women with a STEM-related degree actually go on to work in the sector than their male counterparts. Women In Science is aimed at encouraging more young women to get involved with science and then stay with it as a rewarding career choice.
The festival is supported by many of the internationally acclaimed female scientists and researchers working at institutions in Dundee and St Andrews.
Professor Doreen Cantrell (right) is Vice-Principal of the University of Dundee and Head of the College of LifeSciences. She is a world-renowned expert in the study of white blood cells which control our immune system, an area which could have an immense impact on medicine across a wide variety of conditions including HIV and diabetes.
“The Women In Science Festival is a vital programme in helping show women, and particularly young women, how exciting and rewarding a career in science can be,” said Professor Cantrell. "Women are making a great contribution across science, technology, engineering and maths and we need to make sure it is recognised as an excellent career choice.
“Science presents the opportunity to do work that can have a massive impact on society, and can also be personally satisfying and rewarding. The Women In Science Festival will display this fully and if it convinces even a handful of young women to really pursue science as their future then it will have had a marvellous effect.”
Professor Tracy Palmer (left) heads the Molecular Microbiology division at University of Dundee.
She says, “The traditional view may have been of subjects like maths, science and engineering as being `boys' subjects, but that is now extremely outdated. There are many excellent role models in science for young women and many opportunities.”
The festival is a collaboration between the Universities of Dundee, Abertay Dundee and St Andrews, the James Hutton Institute, Dundee Science Centre and the Hannah Maclure Centre.
The festival programme includes a public lecture (left) by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, the first female President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and an exhibition of photographs (right) by Scottish artist Janice Aitken, a Café Science Extra event on `The Battle of the Sexes’ and a wide range of other public events aimed at all ages.