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Wanted a diversified chemistry profession

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Meg Munn MP recently met Andrea Banham and Hannah Frankland of the Royal Society of Chemistry to learn more about their work to support increased diversity. Like other areas where men dominate, many women start out as chemists but leave and the Royal Society wishes to support its 51,000 members.

Andrea and Hannah explained how they recently started a pilot mentoring programme which was open to both men and women. This programme allocated mentors to 8 society members, matching them using the background of the mentees. Generally the mentor was someone a few years ahead in their career and with a similar background.

All involved in the pilot programme have found it to be rewarding and successful. It has already begun to highlight issues such as managing a career during maternity leave and how to return successfully after a break.

The Royal Society will now roll out the programme to the wider membership. Moving region by region they will be looking for mentors and mentees to volunteer. Already the Society has many online resources to help mentors and mentees and a number of networks which provide an additional source of support.

To celebrate its 175th anniversary the Society has launched 175 Faces of Chemistry.  Professor Lesley Yellowlees, the first female President, launched the programme in 2012. Leading to the anniversary in February 2016, 175 different scientists will be profiled celebrating the diversity of individuals who have helped shape chemistry and science as a whole.  http://www.rsc.org/diversity/175-faces/

Meg said:

“I was impressed by the range of initiatives that the Royal Society of Chemistry is pursuing to increase diversity and maintain women in their careers. I believe that the development of a mentoring programme will make a significant difference enabling chemists to use their mentors to help them navigate the difficulties of a career.”


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