Girls into Geoscience

Young female and non-binary people across the UK and Ireland are being encouraged to consider a career in geoscience with a virtual event day in June.

The Girls into Geoscience initiative, now in its seventh year, aims to introduce young female students to the opportunities posed with a career in the scientifically diverse field of geoscience.

Geoscience is the study of Earth’s past, present, and future. It incorporates a wide range of expertise from across the sciences to help develop our understanding of Earth’s complex intersecting biological, hydrological, geological and ecological systems.

Girls into Geoscience was launched in 2014 at the University of Plymouth, expanding to include the universities across the UK and Ireland.

This year’s events will be happening on June 28 and 29 and bring together women from industry, government bodies, academia and high schools in order to highlight and promote geoscience and its potential as a valuable subject and career for women to pursue.

Geoscience (Earth science/Geology) is rarely offered as a subject in its own right in schools across the UK but elements of it are taught within mainstream subjects such as chemistry, biology, geography and physics.

This year’s event, like last year’s, will be held online due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which offers new opportunities to expand the diversity of speakers along with the number of attendees.

Girls signing up to take part this year can look forward to a varied selection of speakers talking about their careers in the geosciences. Q&A panels including Life in the field, careers, and University life, as well as choosing from a host of virtual fieldtrips (from the Himalayas to Skye) and workshops looking at Peruvian glaciers, natural hazards, microfossils, climate change and forensic geology.

Dr Jodie Fisher and Dr Sarah Boulton, from the University of Plymouth, and co-founders of Girls into Geoscience explain why it is important to encourage more girls to study this important subject:

“As our planet continues to experience the effects of climate change in the coming decades, the field of geoscience is set to become even more important. Geoscientists will play a vital role in helping us monitor, mitigate and adapt to the changes we’re already beginning to see around the world.”

In 2018, Jodie and Sarah won a national award for their efforts to inspire female scientists

Jodie Fisher and Sarah Boulton
Dr Jodie Fisher and Dr Sarah Boulton

Dr Amanda Owen, a University of Plymouth graduate and now lecturer in sedimentology at the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow:

“We were thrilled to have more than 200 girls take part in last year’s event, even though it was entirely online. It shows that young women across the UK are already curious about careers in geoscience, and it’s great that taking the event into the virtual world actually allowed us to reach many more girls than we would have been able to with any of our previous physical events.”

Elspeth Wallace, Education and Public Engagement Officer at the iCRAG centre in Ireland:

“Anyone can be a geoscientist, regardless of gender, ethnicity or disability. A key part of Girls into Geoscience is showing participants that the field of geoscience can be a balanced, safe place in which everyone is welcome. The brilliant line up of our role models from a diverse range of areas really goes to show that no matter what area of geoscience you’re interested in, there’s a place for you.”

Dr Marie Busfield from Aberystwyth University:

“Geoscience is such a diverse and important subject, combining so many different elements of chemistry, physics, biology, environmental science, geography and geology, and with a vital role in looking after the future of our planet. I’m so excited to join our ever-growing GiG network again this year to offer an incredible and free programme of talks, workshops, panels and field trips by amazing leaders in the field to showcase what the fascinating world of geoscience is all about!”

This year the team has expanded to include the University of Leeds who will be involved with the events for the first time. Dr Tracy Aze, also a University of Plymouth graduate now based in the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds:

“We are delighted to be joining the incredibly successful Girls Into Geoscience initiative as the new “GiG North” chapter. The project has already inspired so many young people to get more involved geosciences, so we are very excited to provide a presence in the north of England to help foster this further. This year we are joining the virtual event team and we look forward to running campus-based event in future years.”

Read more information linked to this article

Girls into geoscience

 This exciting one day workshop, with additional optional field trip to Dartmoor, will introduce female A level students to the Earth sciences and demonstrate the world of careers open to Earth science graduates today. 
With seminars from women working in geology, and hands on workshops looking at GIS, microfossils and planetary geology, this year’s girls into geoscience event isn’t one to miss.
Girls into Geoscience

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Our courses in this area are consistently ranked among the best in the world and we have researchers considered leaders in their field in chemistry, geography, geology and environmental science.
Arizona Wave - Famous Geology rock formation in Pariah Canyon
Athena Swan is a national Charter designed to advance gender equality in higher education. The Charter is necessary in order to tackle a worrying trend whereby women continue to be underrepresented at senior levels in academia.
In April 2016, the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science received an Athena Swan Bronze departmental award; this recognises that the School has undertaken a thorough review of gender disparities among the student and staff community together with a plan for advancing greater equality.
Athena Swan Bronze Award holders need to have demonstrated that they have undertaken a comprehensive ‘self-assessment’ process. This involves a extensive data analysis and department-wide consultation in order to review every stage of the academic career pathway, from student recruitment through to academic promotions. The work of the SoGEES self-assessment team seeks to promote good practice to the benefit all staff and students.
Athena SWAN bronze award