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Women in Engineering Day

The importance of women in engineering is being celebrated today and supported by the Met Office.

Today is National Women in Engineering Day, a day promoted by the Women's Engineering Society to mark their achievements in engineering.

The Met Office is highlighting the importance of gender equality throughout 2016 by backing a number of events promoting the significance of women within the organisation.

For the first time this year the Met Office is involved in Soapbox Science, a public outreach platform which aims to bring science to the people and challenge gender stereotypes in science careers by raising the profile of women in science.

Ayoe Buus Soapbox

On Saturday 11 June, three Met Office scientists took part in at the event in Exeter:

  • Becky Hemingway explored how weather and natural hazards affect us all with the help of some brilliantly creative props including a toy lorry and bellows.
  • Ayoe Buus Hansen talked about atmospheric dispersion research using soap bubbles, diet coke and mentoes.
  • Claire Burke explained how research into galaxies that preceded her role in climate attribution, have been transferable and that science does not have to tie you down to one discipline.

Claire Burke Soapbox

Over 1,500 people visited the Soapbox arena over the three hours, and they were free to move between speakers, to interrupt and to join in. Feedback from both the audience and the scientists was highly positive.

Becky Hemingway, a weather impacts scientist, said "I really enjoyed taking part in Soapbox Science. I feel I achieved my aim of inspiring people and increasing awareness and understanding of weather and natural hazard impacts."

As well as the Exeter event, the Met Office will also be at the Cambridge Soapbox Science on 2 July. Siân Lane, research scientist at Cardington will speak about 'weather under the microscope'.

The Met Office is currently applying for a silver Athena SWAN Award from the Equality Challenge Unit. This recognises commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

As a member of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Met Office works with other partner organisations around the world. Encouraging global gender parity is a key part of our international development work. Rob Varley, Chief Executive of the Met Office, feels strongly about gender equality and sits on the WMO's Gender Equality Panel.

You can see the breadth of meteorological and science work undertaken by women around the globe on the World Meteorological Organization's Flickr page.

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