University physics department becomes a gender equality champion in IOP’s Project Juno

7 July 2015

The School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is the latest university department to be awarded Champion status in the IOP’s Project Juno initiative for its commitment to gender equality.

University physics department becomes a gender equality champion

The Juno initiative, which has been running since 2007, aims to address the long-standing issue of the under-representation of women in physics at UK and Irish universities. It recognises and rewards physics departments, institutes or groups that can show how they are taking action to address the issue in their organisation and encouraging better working practices for all.

Organisations taking part in Project Juno progress from being a Supporter to a Practitioner and then to a Champion – which is achieved when they can provide evidence to show how they are embedding the Juno principles and an action plan for how they will continue to do.

The Juno principles are aimed at improving the working culture for all departmental staff by creating, for example, flexible working arrangements, provision for childcare and a more transparent organisational structure.

The department at QMUL is the 13th to be made a Juno Champion. Along with the physics departments at Queen’s University Belfast, which became a Juno Champion late last year, and University College London, which was awarded the status earlier this year, they will be presented with the award at the IOP’s awards dinner in London on 5 November.

Prof. Steve Lloyd, head of QMUL’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said, “Women such as Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Athene Donald have made huge contributions to the fields of astronomy and physics in the UK. Unfortunately women scientists and engineers are still under-represented throughout universities and we need to work harder across academia to change that.

“I’m fantastically proud that our school is a Juno Champion and look forward to continuing the work to increase the number of women studying and working in the school. We hope that this award will help us to recruit more women and ensure that everyone in the school is able to contribute fully to the cutting edge research taking place here.”

The IOP’s head of diversity, Jennifer Dyer, said: “The Institute strongly encourages all physics departments to embed gender equality in all that they do and to work towards achieving Juno awards by providing positive and constructive feedback on their progress against the Juno principles. Juno creates an inclusive working environment that supports the development and progression of all staff, regardless of gender.”