By Sayana Coulson
In October 2018 we held our 1st annual conference – Engendering Future Talent in STEM, in Amsterdam. Our goal was to bring together like-minded professionals in an open dialogue, to discuss the issues faced by the STEM industry and to share strategies that SME’s can adopt to promote diversity, equality and inclusiveness in their sectors. It was an opportunity for speakers, participants and attendees from different European countries to network and share their knowledge, experiences and initiatives. Take a look at what happened!
The agenda or ‘Draaiboek’ as our Dutch colleagues call it:
- Introduction to the ENGENDERING STEM Project
- Presentation of Case Studies by guest SME Employers
- Speakers from Organisations which promote equality within STEM
- Launch of the Self-Assessment Tool and Best Practice Guide
- Workshops: Language Use & Practices and Policies for Inclusion, Unconscious Bias Training, and Engaging the Next Generation
- Plenary Session with experts from the private sector, academia, and gender equality organisations
- Plenty of cake and networking!
During the conference we launched our Best Practice Guide for SME’s which captures outstanding work being carried out by STEM based SME’s across Europe to improve workplace inclusivity. All attendees received a hardcopy of the guide, which is now available for download, and they were able to listen directly from some of the employers featured in our case studies who have fully committed to the business, legal and moral case for diversity.
We promoted our Self-Assesment Toolkit.
Our free online self-assessment tool, which goes live this month, identifies incremental steps that employers can take to improve gender balance within their companies. Participating employers will enjoy free tailored support from the ENGENDERING STEM team to implement recommendations generated by the self-assessment tool.
Additionally, everyone who attended the conference was able to participate in workshops delivered by the Engendering STEM Team which created an opportunity to learn about gender equality, diversity and inclusion and to compare views and discuss examples in a group setting.
The participation of guest speakers and experts who joined the conference from the Basque Country, Scotland and The Netherlands was key to create a diverse space of debate and dialog at every presentation. Our guest speakers were able to share videos, photos, statistics and stories which outlined their journeys to become more progressive and inclusive SME’s. The case studies presented voiced the stories of contrasting businesses some of which started as family owned initiatives such as Kilpatrick Blane Services from Scotland whose speaker shared with a personal touch, how the company implemented practices of flexibility and inclusion in the workplace to change the work and life balance of employees and owners. We heard from Metaglas from the Netherlands whose CEO provided an overview of what is like to be a woman leading a company in the construction industry and the importance of diversity in the sector. RPK form the Basque country gave our participants an example of a fast growing enterprise which truly embraces social transformation, a commitment to equality and excels as a cooperative model.
We heard from SmartSTEMs who joined us from Scotland and shared with participants the outstanding work they do at schools, tertiary education and industry to provide equity of opportunity for young people into STEM.
During our time in Amsterdam we had the opportunity to attend the STEMM Equality Congress 2018 and we were able to put our agenda forward and network with speakers and participants from all over the world.
The ENGENDERING STEM Team and its partners are looking forward to next year’s annual conference.
Follow the link below to download a free copy of our Best Practice Guide: http://engenderingstem.eu/resource/project-specific-resources/