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CamAWiSE 20th Anniversary celebrations 2nd October 2014 – by Daisy Gooch,  PhD student and member of WISE@QMUL

“Last week Louise & I escaped our respective labs for an afternoon and hopped on the train to sunny Cambridge to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Cambridge AWiSE. The Cambridge AWiSE network was set up in 1994 following the publication of ‘The Rising Tide’, a report published by the government on women in science, engineering and technology. This report documented the underrepresentation of women in STEMM fields- demonstrating that even where women predominate at undergraduate level, such as in the life sciences, they are lost at every career stage until they are a small minority. In 2004/5, only 11.5% of professors in life sciences were women, a figure which 10 years later has risen only to 15%. ‘The Rising Tide’ report noted the value of women’s networks and mutual support, and thus Cambridge AWiSE was founded to connect and inspire women in STEMM, which it has been doing ever since.

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CamAWiSE join Women of the World (WoW)

WOW Pin Art

Pin art at the WoW CamAWiSE stand

By Pauline Matthews, member of Cambridge AWiSE

The ‘Pick of the Day’ session was enthusiastically introduced by Natasha Wilson who introduced four women to talk about their experiences of the day and particularly to find out what women want for the International Women’s Day which will extend to a weekend in March 2015.

The first person to pass on her experiences of the day was Norah Al-Ani from Cambridge Rape Crisis.
Norah said it had been an incredible day of celebration and challenging inequalities. The day had given her organisation the opportunity to talk to others, to get ‘money in the box’ and offers of volunteering. She was thrilled to have had her nails at the Nail Bar and eaten fantastic biscuits that were on sale especially for WOW attendees. When asked what she would like for the WOW event in March she said that she wanted ‘This again’.

Phoebe from ‘Influences Nail Bar’ was the next person to share her enthusiasm for the day’s events.  She said that she was delighted to get out of London and work with groups in Cambridge and to engage them in issues that impact on them today. She had first shared her vision of empowering women and girls through nail art in 2013.  Conversations about various subjects can be opened up whilst having your nails painted e.g. mental health and the support available.  Phoebe’s wish for the WOW event in March is to have something available for men.

Next to talk was a woman invited from the audience who spoke to us about her experience of mentoring.  She had been so inspired by a poet who was a mentor that she was now going to go home and open her keyboard.  Also a mentor had suggested to her that instead of looking at people straight in the eye, in this culture it is better to look at the left ear.  Then the person you are talking to will not feel so threatened! She also heard more about cultural differences that she had not been aware of and was able to pass on some advice to one of the mentors.
For the WOW event in March, more mentoring was her wish.

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Cambridge AWiSE 20th anniversary – Inspire, Inform, Challenge

Our 20th anniversary event, opened by long-standing supporter, Lord Sainsbury, will feature talks from Prof Jeremy Sanders, Dr Anne-Marie Coriat, Prof Lesley Yellowlees, Dr Gillian Arnold, Dr Jasmin Fisher and Dr Jan Peters. They will be joined by Dr Nancy Lane and Dr Julian Huppert for panel discussions - all welcome for what will be a thought-provoking evening.

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Our Anniversary – make it your event

It’s just eight weeks now until our 20th Anniversary celebrations on October 2nd. This will be a fantastic opportunity for women in STEM to network with others, find out how things have changed for women in the last 20 years, and have their say about the challenges that remain.

If you haven’t yet booked your place, please do so soon, as places are limited. Please register here by 18th September. The event is open to both non-members and members of CAMAWiSE. No matter what stage you have reached in your career, what your background is, or which area of STEM you work in, you will be very welcome, and will be able to take home something valuable from the meeting. We will certainly encourage and listen to your input, too.

There are many CAMAWiSE members who we never see at our events. If this sounds like you, why not take this opportunity to come along and meet us? If our events don’t appeal to you, then we’d like to know what kind of events we can organise which will entice you along – this is your chance to let us know.

As part of our anniversary celebrations, we are running a survey to find out about the issues currently affecting women working in STEM. Read more

Inventing the Future

What links the Bayer diabetes kit, percussive paper, discovering the inner workings of a laptop with kids, superpowers and some comfy blue sofas?
23rd June 2014 was the first Women in Engineering (WES)’s National Women in Engineering Day #NWED, with some 200 events around the country, to celebrate WES’ 95th birthday and to raise the profile of, and celebrate, the achievements of women in engineering. And so we gathered in the Makespace front room on Mill Lane to do our little bit of celebrating and discovering what makes four Cambridge inventors and engineers tick. And not a Caractacus Potts character (read loner, eccentric, inventor) in sight!

Tanya kicked off with a short introduction talking about how the technology trends around algorithms, hardware, chips/devices and computing, are changing the world, by no means least in Cambridge itself. She was infectious in her enthusiasm that we are in a truly “golden age of inventions”.
We heard how Laura James is driven by Open Knowledge’s http://www.okfn.org “A world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few” so that anyone, anywhere in the world, is then free to use that knowledge and power for innovation and invention. Makespace http://makespace.org/ is a community workshop that supports businesses, both new and established, helps more and more people learn hands on practical STEM skills and finally is a place for the people in the community to get together and learn from each other.

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