A CAMPAIGN which celebrates the stories of female scientists across Europe has officially launched – with its first story now published online.
The Women of Science campaign launched yesterday and celebrates 40 female scientists.
After graduating from the University of Manchester with a PhD in Materials Science, Rhys Archer has now founded the campaign with the aim of breaking down perceived gender stereotypes in her field.
With the release of a new story each week, Rhys hopes to inspire the next generation of females to pursue science and to alter and fizzle out the unattainable perception of the ‘typical’ scientist – a geeky guy with glasses – which is often portrayed in the media and education system.
She also wants to give young female scientists the opportunity to not only talk about their work, but to illustrate their personalities beyond it as well.
The stigma surrounding females in the field of science and technology is omnipresent throughout history and Rhys will be sharing her own personal posts as a scientist and ‘regular’ human alongside the stories in an attempt to banish this view.
Using funds gained from the online competition, ‘I’m an Engineer Get Me Out of Here’ in 2015, Rhys launched a tactical marketing campaign, including a professional website chronicling the stories and leaflets distributed to schools across the Manchester district.
Neha Chandarana, 22, a fellow Materials Scientist, is currently researching monitoring systems in carbon fibre pipes by embedding durable sensors. The goal is to be able to analyse the structure of an object through sound waves, rather than physically inspecting it. By monitoring the high-pitch waves emitted, it allows freedom and predictability for environmental differences.
Neha is the first to be included in the campaign and during her interview with Women of Science, she explained: “The biggest thing that I’ve learnt is not to close any doors to any opportunities because sometimes you fall into things that you didn’t think you’d ever be doing.
“I never thought I would be doing a PhD, and as a consequence I’m really enjoying myself! I’m making a lot of contacts and, to be honest, I feel pretty good about where I am.
“When you tell people you’re doing a PhD, they’re always like ‘wow that’s awesome.’ No matter if you’re a kid at school picking your GCSE subjects or your A level subjects, just don’t close any doors.
“People I went to school with always said ‘I don’t like this subject,’ or ‘I don’t like this teacher’ – and let that decide what they ended up doing at university. I would just say, you can always get to where you want to be, there’s always a way, don’t give up on what you want to do.”