As part of the Faculty's work in diversity & inclusion, we are actively working to support women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to address the current imbalance of women working and studying in these areas. In 2013, the NMS Women in Science Initiative was established to assess, address and challenge the inequities women face in their academic careers.
There is substantial evidence highlighting gender imbalance within science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) careers. In 2010, the Athena ASSET survey showed that at every stage of their career women either still perceive disadvantage, or there remain differences, relative to men. These differences accumulate over the course of an individual’s career to create differences in opportunity and experience.
Women are significantly under represented within the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences (NMS): only 30% of our students are female and less than 20% of our academic staff are female. If we consider only the top professorial positions, things are even bleaker: the proportion of our male academic staff who are professors is over twice as big as the proportion of our female academic staff who have achieved this position (38% vs. 16%).
What we are doing
The Athena SWAN charter was launched in 2005 to recognise commitment of institutions that promote and advance careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM), in academia.
King's College London gained its bronze institutional award in 2008 and renewed this award in 2013 and again in 2017. The Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Science (NMS) held a Bronze award between September 2014 and November 2017 before departments began to work on their own individual applications.
The Department of Informatics was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze award in April 2018 and the Department of Physics, which was awarded Institute of Physics Practitioners status in 2015, continues to work towards Champion status.
The Departments of Chemistry and Mathematics continue their work with their Self Assessment Teams (SAT) to drive activity within their local areas with the aim to apply for Athena SWAN bronze awards in the near future.
Women in Science Week
The Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences (NMS) holds its Women in Science Week in October each year to coincide with the annual Ada Lovelace Day, which is internationally celebrated.
Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and writer who has been adopted as a figurehead for an international celebration of the achievements of women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She is often referred to as the first computer programmer for her work on Babbage's Analytical Engine.
Women in Science Week aims to celebrate women working in science within the Faculty, the University and beyond. It hopes to highlight the issues faced in STEM subjects surrounding the representation of women, and that gender equality is a relevant and important topic for all by bringing together both staff and students from across the Faculty in a number of events.
NMS's Ada Lovelace Day is the flagship event of Women in Science Week and consists of inspirational talks from a wide variety of speakers. It aims to address the problem of there being too few women in STEM subjects. Despite evidence that girls do well in such subjects at school, few go on to study them at university and even fewer pursue a career in such subjects.
Gender Equality Student Fund
The Gender Equality Student Fund is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate (taught and research) students in the Faculty. Individual students or groups of students may apply to the Fund for grants of up to £200 for student initiatives and activities that support the promotion of gender equality in STEM fields.
Awards are made to individuals or groups of undergraduate, postgraduate taught or postgraduate research students who have proposed innovative projects, activities or events that promote gender equality in STEM.
Women in Science Scholarships
The Women in Science Scholarship scheme
is funded by the Faculty as part of our commitment to increasing the representation of female students studying STEM subjects. The scholarships are designed to offer financial assistance to outstanding candidates during their undergraduate studies (for up to three years) and to introduce them to various initiatives and activities taking place across the university in response to the issue.
Our scholarships are worth £3,000 for Home/EU female students in the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences who are undertaking undergraduate studies in the areas of mathematics, physics, computer science, electronic engineering or chemistry.