A letter from the organisers:
On March 22nd last, we successfully launched our new Equality network for Physics undergraduate students, EPONA (Equal Physics Opportunity Network in
Academia). EPONA is a network through which we want to foster a culture of
community, unity and support within Physics by creating stronger links between
staff, students and people of all genders.
On behalf of everyone who was involved in the organisation of our launch, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks for your support.
We had approximately 90 people in attendance, with representation from all levels in the UCC Physics department; under grads. post grads, lecturers and the head of the department.
The evening was opened by UCC President, Prof. Patrick O Shea, who spoke fondly about his own time in the UCC Physics department and in other Physics departments around the world. President O Shea talked about his experience of gender inequality and the need to see change here and abroad. His former class mate, and now head of the UCC Physics Department, Prof. John McInerney, added his own thoughts and experiences. Our final opening address was given by Prof John Wenger, the chair of the UCC SEFS Athena SWAN committee and Professor of Chemistry in UCC.
We had four incredible women enlighten us with their experiences with gender inequality in their respective fields and the challenges they have overcome along the way. First up was Dr. Deirdre Ní Eidhín and Dr. Gráinne Walshe of the UL Physics department who gave a lovely talk about the work they have done in their department and beyond in combating gender inequality, and the benefits they have seen as a result.
Next up was Magaly V. Mora who spoke about her work expanding the WITS (Women in Technology and Science) Ireland network in Cork. Magaly talked about how beneficial and rewarding she has found being a part of networks, like EPONA, throughout her career. She also spoke passionately about the value of mentors, which is something we hope to incorporate in EPONA in the future.
To close the evening, Dr. Caitríona Ní Laoire, a gender equality expert in the UCC School of Applied Social Studies, spoke about the broad range of research she has undertaken into the topic of gender inequality and presented some very thought provoking statistics the topic.
We would like to say a massive thank you to each and everyone of the speakers who joined us and spoke at our launch, and to all who attended. We would also like to thank those who offered support and advice but were unable to attend the launch.
Since our launch, the EPONA committee have met and work is underway a range of exciting and informative for events for the next academic year. Our focus will be to improve peer support and career development. it.In EPONA we want to work together to make Physics better for under-represented people, to the benefit of all. Our plan is to build on the momentum of this great
launch and we hope you will be a part of this movement.
Thank you so much once again.
All the best,
Sorcha Mac Manamon, Niamh Kavanagh, Jessie Doherty
EPONA Founding Members