Female academics from the University of Exeter are taking to the streets as part of national initiative ‘Soapbox Science’, in order to promote the role of women in science.
On 11 June, Princesshay will facilitate a series of public demonstrations and free talks, with the aim of educating the community on different scientific topics, and challenging gender stereotypes in science careers.
The co-founder of Soapbox Science, Dr Seirian, who lectures at the Univeristy of Bristol, spoke about the national initiative: “By challenging perceptions among people of all ages, we hope to influence the choices of the younger generation and their families and friends, making it acceptable and normal for girls from any background to follow a career in science.”
“We hope to influence the choices of the younger generation and their families.”
Soapbox Science provides a platform for outreach that organizes events, aiming to transform public areas around the UK into hubs for hands-on learning for all. Approximately 160 female scientists will take on the Soapbox project this summer, in 13 cities across the UK. Aside from raising the bar for gender equality in education and research, Soapbox also aims to challenge what society views as science.
“People of all ages and backgrounds can get engaged with science.”
A series of questions will be addressed by six presenters from the University, joined by scientists from the MetOffice. Speakers at the event will range from PhD students to professors. Talks and demonstrations will include the usage of props, experiments and specimens in order to engage the crowd.
Topics that will be discussed include the role of maths in discovering patterns in our personality traits, the effects of mud and fossil fuels towards ancient climate change, and how neurons make our brains function.
The participating female scientists at the Soapbox event are Dr Kate Littler, Dr Olivia Champion, Dr Regan Early, Stacey Heath, Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova and Isabel Castanho. Psychology Professor, Dr Safi Darden, who is helping coordinate the event, said: “We have some fantastic women scientists across a wide range of disciplines lined up for the event. We’re really looking forward to showcasing their expertise in an accessible and fun way, and we hope people in Exeter and beyond will come along and meet them.”
Previously in 2015, Soapbox had their 5th annual London event, launching new events in a new range of cities around the country, including Exeter. The outreach organisation is expanding beyond the UK in 2016, with their first international event in Brisbane, Australia.
Felicity Liggins, a senior applied climate scientist at the Met Office, and event coordinator, commented on the diversification of Soapbox, “I believe that people of all ages and backgrounds can get engaged with the fantastic science that’s being done.”