Queen's Gender Initiative
13 Stranmillis Road
Queen's University Belfast
Mentoring unlocks potential, and this report evidences the success of the Queen’s Gender Initiative mentoring scheme in unlocking the potential of the 238 women who have taken part in it to date. Initiated as a pilot project in 2001 led by Professor Madeline Ennis, the QGI mentoring programme soon took on a life of its own. It is now an embedded part of QGI activities designed to foster gender equality in the University.
No one is pressured to be involved. Mentors give of their time voluntarily. Mentees benefit from an experienced view of their professional and personal lives. It is independent of School-based appraisal and mentoring programmes. In the QGI mentoring programme, women can explore the next career steps, discuss work-life balance and raise matters of long and short- term significance for their lives. In all, the mentoring programme gives women the space to think about unlocking their potential and developing their full capacities to contribute to the University, and to their world beyond work.
Running the mentoring programme requires interest and dedication by a core group of people, and many have assisted in that work over the years. At present it is led by Ms. Linda Carey, Dr. Maria Lohan and Mrs. Jill Lyttle, with office support from Ms. Cathy Tolan of QGI. To these, and the many others who through the years have helped with interviewing and matching mentors and mentees, we owe deep thanks for their commitment to fostering women’s potential. In all, 238 academic and research staff partook of the scheme up to 2014, of which 152 were from STEMM Schools, and 86 from Arts, Humanities and Social Science Schools.
This report provides evidence for the benefits of the QGI mentoring scheme on women’s working lives: two-thirds of mentees had made a positive career move as a result of being mentored. Participation in the mentoring helped mentees to clarify their career path and increased their confidence in following this through. Those volunteering their time as mentors also gained: their networking opportunities increased, and many were prompted to re-evaluate their own career path, with over half making a positive career move since being involved in the scheme.
Researching the evidence for impact of the mentoring scheme was challenging. It required extensive matching of data held across a number of databases, revisiting paper-based material, and checking with key people in the programme. The author of this report, Jane Garvey of the University’s Equal Opportunities Unit has our grateful appreciation for undertaking this time-consuming, detailed work. Her analysis shows, in robust data form, that the QGI mentoring scheme really does unlock the potential of women in Queen’s University.
- Yvonne Galligan, Director of QGI
With International Women’s Day 2016 fast approaching, Queen’s Gender Initiative has compiled a collection of exciting events taking place around Northern Ireland during February and March that celebrate women and their achievements. This year’s theme is Pledge for Parity, with everyone being asked to do what they can to accelerate the slow march towards gender equality. This can be accomplished by helping women and girls achieve their ambitions, calling for gender-balanced leadership, respecting and valuing difference, developing more inclusive and flexible cultures or by rooting out workplace bias. You can make your pledge here!
Women’s Information NI have put together a fantastic programme of events ranging from film screenings to workshops and conferences to rallies. Most of the events listed are free of charge, with a small number such as the ‘Revolution 1916’ bus tour (£15), organised by the Falls Women’s Centre and exploring the contributions of women to the 1916 Rising, being charged at reasonable rates.
Organised by the charity No More Traffik, the Half the Sky movement aims to highlight the oppression of women both at home and in developing countries, and poses the challenge: ‘How can we turn this injustice into opportunity?’ This event takes place in Holywood Baptist Church at 7.30pm on International Women’s Day (8th March), and tickets can be purchased here (£5).
Titanic Belfast are hosting ‘Inspire 2016’, an exhibition held in the Andrews Gallery from the 8th to the 31st of March. Here performers and exhibitors will present work that empowers viewers to use their talents and abilities for the betterment of all.
The Linen Hall Library has developed ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’, a workshop that demonstrates the use of online archives and discusses the importance of archival material in helping individuals and communities explore their history. A particular focus is placed on the use of archives in the study of suffrage, gender and democracy. Advanced booking is recommended as this is a free event.
Belfast City Council are holding a number of lectures in Ulster Hall between the 2nd and 8th of March. All lectures begin with a light lunch at 12.30, and run from 13.00 to 14.00.
The Institute of Directors is running a Women’s Leadership Conference this year in Titanic Belfast entitled Leading for the Future.
Speakers at this year’s conference will cover such topics as agile working, improving performance, recruiting Generation Z, tackling new markets, and the impact of changing technology.
Susan Hayes Culleton will host the day, which will feature the popular Marketplace showcasing the produce of companies run by local business women.
The conference will run between 8.30 and 16.30 on Friday 11th March.
Your background, personal experiences, societal stereotypes and cultural context can have an impact on your decisions and actions without you realising.
Unconscious bias happens when our brains make incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising. Our biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. We may not even be aware of these views and opinions, or of their full impact and implications.
Research has found that unconscious bias can heavily influence recruitment and selection decisions. Several experiments using CV shortlisting exercises have highlighted bias by gender and ethnicity.
A study of science faculties in higher education institutions (Moss-Racusin et al 2012) asked staff to review a number of applications. The applications reviewed were identical, apart from the gender of the name of the applicant.
Science faculties were more likely to:
Here, unconscious bias impacts not only on the recruitment decision, but the salary of the individual and the amount of development that is invested in their ongoing progression.
Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. They have developed a number of tests to measure Unconscious Bias. Follow this link to test your Unconscious Bias. We recommend the Gender-Career and Gender-Science IATs as they relate to our work hear at the Queen's Gender Initiative.
Queen’s position as a national leader in gender equality practices has been reinforced with the news that we have retained our institutional Athena SWAN silver award. We are one of only five UK universities to hold an institutional silver award which recognises good employment practices for women working in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
The Schools of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have also had their Athena SWAN silver awards renewed. In total, the University holds 11 SWAN departmental Awards, including two Gold.
As one of the leading UK universities for tackling the unequal representation of women in science and engineering, Queen’s recently welcomed visitors from UMass Lowell to share best practice and provide mentoring support.
During the visit, representatives from UMass Lowell met the Vice- Chancellor, Director of Queen’s Gender Initiative Professor Professor Yvonne Galligan and the Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Tom Millar.
- Article from Queen's Now, May/June 2015 Edition