Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson MP visits Birkbeck

The Minister spoke at an Athena Swan event

On Thursday 12 March, Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment, Consumer Affairs and Equalities, visited a Birkbeck Athena Swan event to speak about the importance of encouraging women in science.

Athena Swan awards, awarded by the Equality Challenge Unit, recognise commitment from universities to combatting the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

At an Athena Swan staff event, Swinson said: “Women in science is such an important thing that we need to improve for our economy. We need girls at the very earliest of ages to recognise that science is something for them. We’ve got a skills shortage in STEM subjects and the biggest opportunity to rectify that skills shortage is to get girls taking on these subjects and realising that this is not just for boys. The work to break down barriers and promote equality within universities is hugely important, so thank you for the work that you all do to promote that, whether as advocates or as role models, because I think that seeing someone 15 years ahead of you, who is like you, is hugely important to inspiring the next generation of women scientists.”

Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, Assistant Dean for Strategy (Equalities) in Birkbeck’s School of Science said: “I’m delighted that the Minister Jo Swinson MP was able to visit Birkbeck. The College is committed to achieving gender equality and is undertaking a whole host of initiatives to move towards this goal. It was extremely encouraging to have the Minister for Women and Equalities visit and share her support for what we are doing.”

Find out more about Athena Swan at Birkbeck:

[Image L-R: Professor David Latchman CBE, Master of Birkbeck; Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment, Consumer Affairs and Equalities; Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, Assistant Dean for Strategy (Equalities); Professor Nick Keep, Executive Dean of the School of Science]