Gender and Careers; breaking down barriers
Following International Women’s Day 2020 (and before the university closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic) Athena SWAN representatives in the School of Medical Sciences and the Women in Medicine Society teamed up to host a panel event focused on career pathways for medical students. Currently some specialities are male-dominated, and others are more female-dominated. The aim of the event was to encourage medical students to pursue their desired career choice, regardless of gender, whilst balancing other aspects of life generally.
We hosted a panel of 5 inspirational speakers, both men and women, working in a variety of specialities and at various career stages chaired by Prof Mahesh Nirmalan (Vice Dean for Social Responsibility and Public Engagement). The panel shared with us their personal career paths, what inspired them, barriers they faced and what they love most about their job in an entertaining and inspiring session. They also discussed other important topics such work-life balance, childcare and imposter syndrome all of which were picked up on in a very vibrant question and answer session afterwards. The enthusiasm among speakers and attendees was amazing and the conversations and questions carried on over pizza’s afterwards.
The event was an incredible success and feedback extremely positive. It is evident that events like this are needed to promote Athena SWAN principles such as career progression for all genders.
Quotes from the organisers and attendees:
(….) the issues of children and finances have been a huge concern to me … This lecture and these speakers have not only alleviated my concerns, but I am truly inspired by them, especially the women. The future seems so much less intimidating and I feel so in control now, and the compromises I’ll need to make are a lot less than I’d imagined. Genuinely thank you so much for the talk and your speakers’ – Attendee
“All of the speakers were very inspiring! I was always anxious about picking a specialty that I love and balancing other aspects of life. The evening has given me faith that having a fulfilling career and healthy work life balance are not mutually exclusive!” – Nawal Al-Sabahi, Co-president of the Women in Medicine Society
“This event was so motivating! I always thought my career choice was going to be influenced by whether or not it would let me have a work-life balance and how it would impact me having a family. Hearing these speakers really reassured me that being organised means I can follow whatever career path I want.” – Sophie Riley, Co-president of the Women in Medicine Society and organiser
“It is clear that medical students feel some specialities are less open to them than others, depending on gender or work-life balance. The speakers were amazing, and I think have convinced everyone that it is possible to pursue the career they love. Issues raised in the Q&A session highlight how important this event has been for medical students to address career concerns.” – Katharine Dibb, Senior Lecturer and organiser.
“Empowering our future doctors to pursue careers they are passionate about is key to creating the best clinicians. An open and honest forum where clinicians share their career journeys and their work-life balance provides great insight for the students and hopefully has motivated them to pursue their career aspirations and adapt as needed to make it all work!” – Charlene Pius, Cardiology ST6, Clinical Research Training Fellow and organiser.
“The School of Medical Science’s silver Athena SWAN award recognises and celebrates our work and commitment to the advancement of gender equality, representation, progression for all students and staff – we look forward to working more with the Women in Medicine Society, and other student societies and supporting future events – please do contact us if you want to be involved with or know more about Athena SWAN– Natalie Gardiner, Senior Lecturer, Director for Social Responsibility and Athena SWAN co-lead for the School of Medical Sciences
Gender and Careers; breaking down barriers
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