At the end of last month, 40 pupils from Ashton on Mersey Secondary School took part in a Women in Physics Speed Networking event, as part of the Ogden Trafford Partnership.
The event began with a thought-provoking and challenging talk delivered by Sasa Harrop of the Institute of Physics. She discussed gender bias and how it influences the career choices and achievements of both boys and girls.
The 40 girls then split into groups of four and had the opportunity to network with 10 women in physics, who were representing a range of physics related jobs, including a platform design engineer at Siemens and a science communicator at the University of Manchester.
The discussions covered the day to day work of the women and their education route into the job. There was enough time for each group to meet each of the presenters. Students were given copies of the job profile of each of the participants to take away and review later. The day introduced new career opportunities for the girls to consider and introduced new jobs that they were not aware of.
“The pupils found the day very enlightening,” said event organiser Bernie Motiwala. “One of the women in physics who worked at Siemens had been a student at Ashton on Mersey and her Mum had encouraged her to do food technology. She was unhappy in that field and eventually became an electrical engineer for Siemens. This is exactly what Sasa’s talk on gender bias covered – the channelling of people into particular jobs because of their gender rather than their skills.”