A pioneering initiative which aims to inspire girls to consider a career in the sciences has earned a major award from The Geological Society.
Girls into Geoscience was launched at the University of Plymouth in 2014 and since then more than 250 pupils from schools across the UK have taken part.
The annual event features talks and workshops led by University academics and other women who have forged successful careers in a range of geoscience professions.
Now it has received the Society’s R H Worth Award for 2018, which is presented in recognition of achievements in outreach, public engagement and/or education.
Girls into Geoscience is organised by the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, which in 2017 received an Athena SWAN Bronze award for its ongoing efforts to inspire female scientists.
Dr Sarah Boulton, Lecturer in Neotectonics at the University and one of the event organisers, said:
“This award is not only recognition for the hard work that has been put into the event, but also of the need for it. Women continue to be affected by a range of biases, both unconscious and conscious, and through events like this we can change the way that women in science are viewed and how girls view a career in science. We hope this event will continue to raise the profile of women in science because by showcasing the exciting careers undertaken by such fantastic role models, we can continue to challenge a range of preconceptions.”
Since its launch, Girls into Geoscience has achieved a number of successes in encouraging girls to continue on to geoscience degrees.
In 2016, 75 per cent of those attending said at the end of the event that they were more likely to consider studying geology. A year later, 78 per cent of those responding to a follow-up survey said they were off to study geoscience or related courses at university, with 100 per cent of those saying they would recommend GiG to others.
The event is complemented by a blog featuring news of successful women in geology and a sister event is now being launched in Ireland.
Dr Jodie Fisher, co-organiser of the event, added:
“There are societies for women in geoscience both nationally and internationally, but ours is the first initiative targeting girls just starting on their career paths. Recognition from the Geological Society shows participants just how relevant the work we are doing is, and we hope it will encourage more girls to consider the geosciences as a real option for them.”
The R H Worth Award is named after Richard Hansford Worth, who was born in Plymouth in 1868 and became a renowned historian of Dartmoor and consulting engineer. It was established in 1955.