Attendees at Round Table

The 2017 Roundtable Debate: Embedding Inclusivity in Postgraduate Professional Development

The aim of this roundtable debate was to discuss how the represented organisations could ensure professional development for researchers was inclusive for all genders. To set the scene, Professor Liz Thomas, external consultant and Professor of Higher Education at Edge Hill University gave a presentation to provide the context for the debate. Professor Thomas started with an overview of the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act of 2010. She then focussed on gender and in particular women in STEM and the “leaky pipeline.”

It was noted there has been comprehensive national work funded by government and industry but it still remained a major issue in the UK (15.8% of engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK are female [1]). She then highlighted the role of professional development in career progression (only 9% of the engineering workforce is female [1]) and asked whether gendered engagement with training and development opportunities was a contributing factor. Indeed, at Imperial College London, the Graduate School has anecdotal observations that there are gender differences in course participation and gendered roles in active learning and group activities. These observations have raised questions about wider patterns of participation and engagement and how professional skills courses could be more inclusive.

 [1] Women's Engineering Society Useful Statistics, available from‐statistics accessed 9/11/2017