KCL Women in Physics
Women now make up half the national workforce, earn more college and graduate degrees than men, and by some estimates represent the largest single economic force in the world. Yet the gender gap in science persists, to a greater degree than in other professions, particularly in high end, math-intensive fields such as physics. Our main purpose is to build a strong close-knit community within the department, for support, mentorship and progress.
The KCL Womxn in Physics Society was founded in 2015, by a second year undergraduate who wanted to address the issue of underrepresentation of women and non binary people in the physics department at King's College London.
This society aims to act as a safe space for all minorities in the field of physics, promoting an inclusive and supportive environment through a range of social, educational and academic events.
KCL Women in Physics Society (KCLWiPSoc) is one of over 260 societies at King’s which is run by students, for students. Through a range of events hosted throughout the year, as well as campaigns online and on campus, the society seeks to do its part in promoting equal opportunity, challenging biased behaviours and supporting the vulnerable. We are committed to representing every female and recognising that all experiences are valid. Together with The Maxwell Society, KCLWiPSoc plays an integral role in the social side of the Physics community at King’s by providing opportunities to mix with students in other year groups, as well as post-grad students and departmental staff.
The events and campaigns organised by the society are designed to fulfil our three main goals: providing support, encouragement and education. Past events include talks on Imposter Syndrome and confidence building workshops. By discussing our insecurities openly, we are able to show, and be shown, that we are not alone in feeling this way. Many of our events are hosted by fellow students. We believe that peer-to-peer communication is one of the best ways of guiding students through the incredibly rewarding, but nevertheless challenging, minefield of university level Physics – not to mention it’s a brilliant way of making friends across the department!
Social events are hosted by the society regularly and play a vital role in our mission of creating a community in the department. These can range from afternoon tea and biscuits, to midweek trips to the science museum, to a Friday night at the pub! We try to make sure there is something for everyone no matter what your taste, and we’re always willing to discuss new suggestions!
KCLWiPSoc also loves to celebrate the achievements of fellow females, whether they be here at King’s or somewhere further afield. We have previously hosted social media campaigns to display our female scientific inspirations. Campaigns of this nature allow us to collaborate with our sister society KCL Women in STEM Society, but also to engage with the broader Women in Science community across the country. In this vein, from 2018 onwards, KCLWiPSoc will be taking over the reins in organising the annual Women in Physics London Conference. This annual event brings together female physicists of all levels from all across the UK to celebrate their work and achievements.
It is of great importance to the society that issues of gender equality are ones with which everyone in the department engages. We work very closely with senior members of staff in the department to ensure that every member of the King’s Physics community is regularly challenged on their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. By clarifying where the biases lie, and outlining what changes can be made to fix them, we hope to improve the experiences of females already in the department and as a result, inspire more young women to pursue Physics at university. With a 65:35 ratio of male to female undergraduate students, King’s is above the UK average and has clearly taken more than its first steps in the direction of equality for all.