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WiSTEM: a society closing the gender gap

SciTech puts the spotlight on the Women in STEM Society and its mission to promote gender equality.

WiSTEM at this year's freshers' fair | WiSTEM

By Lucinda Hamilton-Burns, Fourth year, Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience

By championing gender equality, the Women in STEM Society aims to create a more inclusive STEM community that gives women and minority gender groups a fair chance to succeed.

The Women in STEM Society (WiSTEM) is an excellent example of a society that places community at the forefront of everything that it does. WiSTEM is focussed on promoting gender equality in all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and creating a meaningful support network for women and other genders that have historically been a minority in these fields.

WiSTEM makes an inspiring and invaluable contribution to the university by hosting networking and careers events, such as mentor schemes and black history events with their sponsor KPMG.

The society also organises a range of socials such as boardgames, movie nights and pub quizzes, where women and minority gender groups can meet other STEM students in a safe and inclusive space.

A WiSTEM games night last year | WiSTEM

Through these socials, WiSTEM helps to promote a sense of well-being within the STEM community, and builds a strong network that will undoubtedly support students throughout their careers.

A particularly enjoyable aspect of the society's social media presence is its weekly 'WiSTEM Wednesday' posts, which acknowledge notable female scientists and their contribution to science, past or present.

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A post shared by UoB WiSTEM Society (@uob_wistem)

Female research is so often underfunded and underappreciated. Historically, women have been completely disregarded in awards such as the Nobel Prize, with only 3% of all winners being women since the first prize was awarded in 1901.

By highlighting these inspiring women and their work, WiSTEM reminds everyone of the impact that women can, and frequently do, have in a male-dominated field. Moreover, it provides representation for women from minority groups that have historically been erased from the narrative.

This all has the effect of inspiring the younger generation of scientists, who may have otherwise not been aware of these incredible women and will hopefully go on to create a more inclusive STEM community in the future.

Last year's WiSTEM galantine's event | WiSTEM

‘We especially love that we are able to reach so many women and young minds to break barriers often faced in STEM disciplines,’ says Isobel Foster, WiSTEM’s Social Media Manager. ‘We love our huge network of support and our amazing community of super smart and powerful women in STEM!'

Although not a subject-specific society, contributing to the university in the usual way, WiSTEM creates something just as valuable: a network and support system for women and minority genders in a male-dominated arena.

WiSTEM’s work to inspire young minds by highlighting the contribution of women in STEM, and its frequent career and social events show what an inclusive, well-rounded and fun society it is; it's obvious why it was awarded Gold Accreditation in 2023. Keep up the good work ladies!

Featured image: WiSTEM

Are you thinking of joining the Women in STEM Society?