Cultural perception and bias

Apriel Hodari, Queen Mary, University of London, USA

Renee Horton, NASA, USA

Lilia Meza-Montes, Instituto de Física BUAP, Mexico

Jessica Wade, Imperial College London, UK

Through education, culture, and the interaction with others a prejudiced environment is created. Later the impact of this phenomenon is exposed in all the settings we share with others hurting and limiting our opportunities to develop equality at work.  This workshop will analyze different bias situations from diverse regions in the world and will propose strategies to create cultural awareness in order to build better conditions for women in Physics.


Monday July 17th, 11:15-12:45

Implicit bias and self-advocacy

Angela Johnson, Department of Educational Studies, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, USA

Grad school in physics can be hard for everyone, especially if you don’t fit the physics mould. In this workshop, we will work together to find ways we can improve this situation. We will begin with a look at who studies physics (for instance Black, Latina and American Indian women were less than 1.5% PhD completers from 2002-2012). Next we will look at the experiences of women of colour who persisted despite the odds, including both the obstacles they faced (isolation and hostility) and their strategies for success. We will look at how implicit bias and stereotype threat contribute to this situation (and how to mitigate them), and at how growth mind-sets can protect students. Workshop participants, in groups, will examine stories collected from women in STEM. Established physicists will think about actions they could take to prevent similar incidents at their institutions; students will brainstorm how they might handle similar situations, or support friends in doing so. Participants will leave with an understanding of the experiences of women of colour in physics and concrete ideas about how to make things better.


Tuesday July 18th, 10:45-12:15

UK Panel

Emma Chapman, Royal Astronomical Society

Katja Poppenhager, Queen’s University Belfast

Ruth Oulton, University of Bristol

Jessica Rowson, Institute of Physics

Each and every one of us tends to believe that we are more fair, and less prejudiced than the average person. We can’t always control what our brains do and, unconsciously, many of us are racist, sexist and biased without meaning to be. Join Royal Astronomical Society Fellow Emma Chapman, Lecturer Katja Poppenhager, Senior Lecturer Ruth Oulton and the IOP's Gender Balance Manager pre-19 Jessica Rowson as they explore the biased world of science. Each speaker will be invited to speak for up to 15 minutes and it will then be opened for a discussion.  To seek out unconscious bias we necessarily have to go to large samples and there, the evidence is clear. Women, ethnic minorities and other protected groups are biased against throughout their research careers and are far more unlikely to make it to the top senior positions. For more than 30 years, uptake of A-level physics among girls has remained at around 20% Previous research from the IOP has shown that this 20% comes from certain schools and that schools that achieve a good gender balance in physics achieve a good gender balance in other subjects, suggesting that the problem isn’t with girls or physics - whole school environment makes a difference. Ruth will present her work as the gender balance advisor for European COST Action “Nano-quantum optics” (NQO), a network of approximately 400 European researchers. Her focus has been on developing a survey to assess attitudes towards gender equality. In particular, in gender studies over the past 10-15 years the emphasis has changed from focusing on the uptake of science by girls in school and on mentoring of women, to a focus on the “gate-keepers”, senior academics and managers who have a strong influence on junior scientists’ careers. Katja will discuss the situation in Belfast, where they have developed and conducted a workshop on unconscious gender bias awareness at the School of Mathematics and Physics. She will outline the outcomes this can have on the success of physics students as well as the careers of physicists in an academic context will be highlighted.


Wednesday July 19th, 10:30-12:00

Short talks and final discussion

Impact of Multinational Projects on Gender Issue in Morocco

Mina Bettachy, Hassan-II- University of Casablanca/ Morocco



Reflections from Latin America to potentiate women and their knowledge inclusion into Physics

Elizabeth Martínez Buenabad, Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades “Alfonso Vélez Pliego”-Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

As an introduction, I will present a current panorama on the regional indigenous populations. Likewise, I will discuss the importance of these populations in the contemporary world and their invaluable inputs in the fields of Technology, Science and Arts. Nevertheless, we will highlight an undeniable reality of these populations that shows gender inequality and the strong disadvantage of indigenous women when we see their exclusion from school formative processes and mostly in the exact Sciences fields, in our contemporary societies. In spite of all public policies that have been implemented across Latin America, women have continued struggling to achieve meaningful participation. Thus, this workshop proposes the awareness of the condition of these groups in order to promote gender equity as well as equality among cultures, no matter what their ethnic nomination and/or what kind of links they may have with the exact Sciences. This way, the World Physics Women Community will set a series of alternative and parallel suggestions routed to the improvement in education plans from the beginner’s level to postgraduates through different interactive strategies (drawing and short phrases and texts). All the mentioned strategies are designed to support gender equity and encourage the inclusion of those indigenous communities that characterize and nourish our multicultural and multilingual countries.


Final Discussion


Key dates

  • Abstract submission deadline:
    31 May 2017
  • Early registration deadline:
    31 May 2017
  • Proceedings deadline:
    30 June 2017
  • Registration deadline:
    7 July 2017
  • Paper reviews deadline:
    14 August 2017