In recognition of the contribution of women to psychology and neuroscience research Royal Holloway, University of London, the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the British Neuroscience Association (BNA) have launched a new initiative, to help promote the role of women in science.
The Women in Science Database will tackle the problem of under-representation of women in science by raising awareness of their achievements.
Around 2,000 women psychologists and neuroscientists received emails inviting them to join. All women scientists in these fields, across academia, industry and the third sector, are being encouraged to participate. They can do so either by replying to the emails, or using the signup form.
Narender Ramnani, the Project Chair, Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway University said: “Women scientists are under-represented in positions of visibility, influence and authority in every area of scientific activity.
“This includes funding panels, senior academic decision-making roles, and keynote speakers at conferences.
“We hope our project plays a part in levelling the playing field. WISDATABASE will make the achievements and expertise of women scientists public and searchable so that they can be recruited into positions of influence quickly and easily. Increasing diversity impacts positively on science as it does in every other sphere.”
The project is assisted by a steering group that includes Prof. Jackie Hunter, (CEO of BenevolentBio and former Chief Executive of the BBSRC), well known for her work in promoting the equality in science.
Stephen Metcalfe MP is also on the steering group, and is a member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.
Sarb Bajwa, BPS Chief Executive, said: “Psychology is overwhelmingly female and yet time and time again we find that these very same scientists are not represented or listened to at the various fora where decisions regarding the future of the profession are made. Our values at BPS demand that policies and practices take into consideration diversity, equality and inclusivity. This is why we felt it was so important to support this project.”
Dr. Anne Cooke BNA Chief Executive added: “This is a very important initiative. Currently the research process is diminished by the exclusion of women from participation in science and from the contributions to the organisation of science and science policy. The BNA will play a role in changing that.”