Over the morning coffee break, members of the EGEE Project office have been distributing the "women in science" postcards to people, kindly requesting input and feedback. The reactions to this are interesting, some raise eyebrows, others tut, yet more willingly commit to providing feedback. It sometimes feels like it's a subject people would rather not discuss. But isn't it an issue all should be aware of and that we should all think about? The facts are there: an ageing population, declining birth rates... we need "all hands on deck" as it were for Europe to remain competitive in science. And "all hands" means men, women, of all countries, backgrounds, cultures.
So now you are wiser to the actual history behind the Gender Action Plan of EGEE through these blogs, this is a good occasion to highlight what activities we have undertaken in the context of the plan in successive EGEE projects to raise awareness of the matter among partners, collaborating projects and users as best we can.
What is GAP in EGEE? It's a dedicated website on the EGEE protal, outlining the goals of the plan, the equal opportunity policies in place in partner institutes, a statement of intent devised by the project for institutes which do not have an EOP. It contains project statistics derived from PPT data to show the level of representation of women in the project, useful links and ideas for running Grids for Kids or Shadowing days at your institute and also links to the GridTalk project and iSGTW magazine with whom we have collaborated extensively in the latest, EGEE-III GAP context. We have run specific actions at conferences and user forums, as well as a series of profiles of women in science starting on 18 March in ISGTW and a dedicated Grid Briefing was produced by GridTalk. So plenty has been and is going on!
Finally, I'd like to share this little report with you, pictured right, written by a 10 year old schoolboy when he came to one of our Grids for Kids days in EGEE-II. If you are interested in running a Grids for Kids day in your institute, the recipe for a successful day is also included on our GAP webpage. Children, boys and girls are fascinated by science, and as I noted in a previous blog, they probably hold the key to evolution in this debate ....
Food for thought.