Skirting Science: inspiring girls since 2009
Skirting Science is an award winning event that aims to inspire the next generation of female scientists. It brings together Year 9 girls and science professionals from various research, industrial and educational establishments.
Each science professional delivers a workshop that provides a hands-on experience of their career. The workshop might involve an experiment, a design and build activity, group work; in fact anything provided the participants go away with a real, visceral insight into what it’s like to be a scientist.
The girls come from lots of different schools and are chosen for their potential to progress to university and study a science subject; they really could be tomorrow’s scientists.
Skirting Science aims to address the gender imbalance in certain science careers. It helps girls make informed decisions about these careers; not those based on misconceptions such as all scientists work in labs. It gives the girls a chance to meet science role models and learn from their experiences. They find out that scientists are normal people with interests similar to their own.
The vast majority of the girls come away from Skirting Science having found out something new and positive about science and science careers:
‘The workshops have been fun and practical. They have shown me there are lots of opportunities and careers in science.’
‘Science is involved in everything and can be fun.’
‘Today has helped me to realise how important science is.’
Some are inspired to pursue science as a career:
‘I now want to have a career in science because I know more about it and I am more interested in it.’
‘Skirting Science has made me think more about science as a career path.’
‘I now know that science careers are open to lots of people and I think it is a lot more likely I will do something linked to science in the future.’
‘I didn’t realise there was so many jobs for women in science. Taking part has made me think about having a job in science.’
Skirting Science relies on the good will of a lot of people who volunteer their time, expertise and passion.
All of the presenters take time out of their busy professional lives to deliver workshops at the event, as well as all of the planning and paperwork that goes with it. A lot of the presenters deliver workshops every year.
The big driving force behind Skirting Science is Soroptimist International’s Weston branch. As well as having three members on the organising committee the Soroptimists are a big presence at each event. They provide woman-power to keep everything running smoothly; serve cakes and refreshments at break; and a buffet lunch for all workshop presenters and other contributors. All of the Soroptimists are volunteers. Soroptimist International is a worldwide service organisation committed to helping girls and women achieve their full potentials. Find out more about them here.
Skirting Science first took place at Hans Price Academy in Weston-Super-Mare and more recently at Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College. We appreciate the generosity of institutions such as these to donate so much of their resources to Skirting Science for free.
Skirting Science is supported by North Somerset Council’s The Learning Exchange.
Skirting Science is organised by:
Ruth Thomas, Soroptimist International
Melanie David, Soroptimist International
Susan Long, Soroptimist International
Anne Graham, Science teacher and Soroptimist International
We also acknowledge the past but significant contribution of Mark Nelson, North Somerset Council