I am very interested in the challenges facing women in physics, and in the science, engineering and technology (SET) disciplines more generally. In Scotland, women accounted for 39% of students in SET disciplines in 2008-2009. Across the country 209,200 people hold a STEM degree, but only 29% of female SET graduates are working in the sector in which they are qualified, compared to 52% of male graduates. The situation is similar in the US. And according to data collected by the IoP, 33.3% of assistant professors in all subjects in the UK are women, but this figure drops to 8.5% for full professors (and only 3% in physics). That's an awful lot of highly trained people we're failing to support. For examples of women successfully balancing a career in science with a family, see the excellent 'Mothers in Science' booklet.
A particular interest of mine is the incorporation of science into primary school teaching. The majority of primary teachers do not have a science background and, understandably, many lack confidence in incorporating science into lessons. As both girls and boys make up their minds about whether they like science at a very early age (pre-secondary school), making primary science fun may be a way of improving the numbers of girls who enjoy and choose to take science at secondary school or beyond. I work with Schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians to come up with fun and interesting demonstrations or projects that can be incorporated into lessons. If you would like me to work with you, please get in touch.
The School of Physics and Astronomy at Edinburgh has Juno Champion status and an Athena SWAN Silver award. Project Juno is an Institute of Physics initiative that aims to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men.