Ruth Wilson, Marketing Manager of the UKRC explained that their work bridged all work levels from encouraging young women to enter careers in Science, technology and engineering, to supporting women’s career development. She introduced the wonderful portraits on display in the gallery of the seven winners of the UKRC's annual Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards for 2011. Each year a panel of professionals selects seven women who demonstrate commitment, contribution and leadership in the fields of Science, Engineering and Technology. Since the scheme started in 2006, over 100 submissions made each year.
Ruth advised that the rationale for the awards had been that on visits to scientific institutions, portraits of successful men were evident while women were largely invisible. She said this initiative was to “recognise that there are hugely talented women achieving a great deal.” Each year, after they had been exhibited, the portraits “go on to their institutions so we can get these faces out there and start addressing the imbalance.”
Ruth added that men were six times more likely than women to take up a career in engineering, and during this recession, the concentration of women’s science and technology posts in the public sector meant that they were being hit particularly hard, so the exhibition and inclusion in the British Science Festival were most important.