Gender Balance in Energy Research: links to get you thinking on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is an important moment to highlight our research on gender balance in the UK energy research portfolio, funded by the UK Energy Research Centre Whole Systems Networking Fund (UKERC WSNF). The project aims to establish whether women are under-represented in energy research and is also looking more broadly at gender balance issues in energy academia.

We are analysing the available data on women and funding, and have been talking to female researchers at various career stages to find out what they think about academic life, their experience of accessing research funding, and their views on what universities and research councils can do to better address gender balance. They have highlighted a whole range of ideas to mobilise change and we’ll report our findings in late May 2019.

As part of our project we’ve been reviewing the huge literature on equality and diversity in academia and we wanted to share a short selection of the many useful, sobering and inspiring blogs, articles and studies that we have come across. Happy reading!


Women and Energy in Academia

Catherine Mitchell

Kicking off our ‘Gender Balance in Energy Research’ project Prof Catherine Mitchell reflects on some of the key challenges and potential solutions to improving gender balance in academia.



Athene Donald

Follow Athene Donald’s blog for insight on all things academic, inclusive and more – but this post which lists actions we can all take to encourage women and girls to stick with science should be stuck on walls in Universities everywhere! #just1action4WIS


Should research funding be allocated at random?

Dorothy Bishop

Similarly Dorothy Bishop’s blog is a fantastic resource on a wide range of academic and gender issues. This blog provides an interesting exploration of the flaws in the academic review processes and approaches to address this.


An academic mother’s wish-list: 12 things universities need

Julia Leventon, Katy Roelich and Lucie Middlemiss

This Nature article provides a focussed and much needed ‘wish-list’ of things universities can do to be more family-friendly and inclusive. Also check out the author’s wonderful blog ‘Mama is an Academic’, an online community for mothers pursuing an academic career shares (or academics pursuing motherhood!),


Female Scientists urge research grants reform to tackle gender bias

Sally Weale and Caelainn Barr

Leading female scientists call for urgent reform of the distribution of research funding after data revealed that almost 90% of grants awarded in engineering and physical sciences over the past decade have gone to projects led by men. In the past five years, more funding has consistently been granted to men and last year the average size of grant to women was less than 40% of what their male counterparts received.


Academic writes 270 Wikipedia pages in a year to get female scientists noticed-

Hannah Devlin / Jess Wade

Read about Imperial academic Jess Wade’s inspiring mission to ensure female scientists get the recognition they deserve, as well as her work to attract and retain more women in physics.


Gender equality: universities are still all talk and too many trousers

Laurie Cohen and Jo Duberley

Data on UK university staff in 2015-16 from the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that just 24 per cent of UK professors are women. This articles reviews some of the issues and cultural norms in academia that contribute to this imbalance, as well as linking to some key studies on the topic.


Female professors ‘pay price for academic citizenship’

Jack Grove / study by Bruce Macfarlane and Damon Burg

Female professors earn less on average than their male counterparts because they focus on underappreciated ‘academic citizen’ roles that do not lead to promotion or pay rises, a study by Bruce Macfarlane and Damon Burg suggests.


Taking action: Tackling the gender pay gap in higher education institutions

Universities and Colleges Employers Association

This new UCEA report examines the extensive work HE institutions are undertaking to keep narrowing the sector’s gender pay gap.

Flexible working can reinforce gender stereotypes

Heejung Chung

Article reflecting on some of the potential downsides to flexible working. It draws on research that indicates that flexible working may even reinforce traditional gender roles – men working longer, women increasing their care duties.


How the entire scientific community can confront gender bias in the workplace

Kathleen E. Grogan

Evidence overwhelmingly shows structural barriers to women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, and suggests that the onus cannot be on women alone to confront the gender bias in our community. Kathleen Grogan share her experience of how best to navigate the academic maze of biases and barriers.


The role of women as drivers of change in the energy transition

Enterprising Women in Renewables (EWiRE), Regen

This EWiRE report brings together contributions from across the energy sector to share knowledge, experience and ideas from women at the cutting edge of the energy system. It outlines how women can generate a vital dynamic force to spark change in the energy sector and challenges company leaders and policy makers to demonstrate that they are doing enough to address gender diversity.


And for the more general reader:

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