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Women in Science

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Video clip: Charlotte had mixed feelings about Athena Swan (see 'positive change' above), here she explain how the workload for change often falls to the few women in the department.

But then on the other side, the actual exercise is very bureaucratic. It's a piece of paper. It's how well you write a description of what you do. It's not what you do. There's no kind of element of understanding the dynamics of how the department works, or.

It's like 'write a description of it', so if you write well; then you do well.

And I find that disappointing, because that to me undermines its whole purpose, because then it's - You can have a department where actually the culture isn't great, but its paperwork is great. And you can have another department who actually they couldn't be arsed with the paperwork [laughing], but the culture is fantastic. And those two will not be seen, I think, appropriately.

And then the final bit of it that I think is starting to become more frustrating now, and I think particularly as I became head of department dawned on me, is that it appears that even preparing all of that - so, getting that paperwork done, has become a job for the female academics. And it's like - that's exactly what I don't want it to be. You know you've - you've told that they're finding it difficult to stretch across all the parts of their career. You're telling me there aren't enough of them to go around. You're telling me they have to be on every interview panel. You're telling me that they have to participate in everything the university does. But there's not very many of us, so that means we're all massively stretched. And then you give us a massive pile of paperwork to fill in as well? And that annoys me, because it seems to me it's not my problem. You know, because I'm female, and it's not female academics problem. It's an academic or a workplace problem. And actually, the benefits of it should be good for everyone. Because that, you know, thinking about how we do things better and make a workplace a more nicer place to be, and more diverse, is really - I don't see, I don't actually see what that's got to do with a gender having to deal with it as an issue. Yeah, and I don't like that. So I struggle with that. But it seems to be an uphill battle to persuade, you know, anyone that actually it's not a female academic problem, it really isn't [laughing]. I don't care if we're not Athena SWAN certified, I've got a job to do. And I don't mean that - I mean that's sort of facetiously, but you know it - it feels a bit like that. So I guess that's the balance between the two.