Earlier this month Gillian Arnold (BCSWomen chair) and I went to the EU Gender Summit in Brussels. This was the first ever gender summit, concentrating on gender issues in Science, Engineering and Technology, and it was absolutely fascinating.
The real take home message to me was the power of diverse teams. I’ve heard this before in a business context, but the message coming loud and clear from the Gender Summit was that monocultures are simply not as efficient as mixed groups in any sphere. So your all-male science teams and your all-female nursing teams? Huge mistake, in the same way that all-male boards are in business. It actually pays to be diverse.
Obviously, it was a two day conference so there was a lot more to it, and we have put together a full conference report which you can find at http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/bcswomen_gender_conf_report.pdf. As there were two of us there, we split the parallel sessions and managed to cover twice as much (yes we are brilliant and organised, thank you for noticing:-).
Many thanks to the BCS and also to Aberystwyth university (particularly the staff development unit and the Gooding conference fund) for funding the trip.
Top tip – if you’re going to Brussels, there are some rather nice small apartments in the Ixelles region here: boomhostel.com. We stayed in one that had a bedroom and a large sofabed in the main room (which was fine – I lost the coin toss but didn’t lose any sleep!) and it was €75/ night; a proper bargain for 2 people!