The Women’s Researcher Network was formed in 2019 by Carin Tunaker and Jo Collins, in response to research by the Athena Swan team that identified that women in the early stages of their careers were unsupported and invisible, often hidden behind supervisors and PI’s.
The purpose of this network is to bring together and create a supportive network of women in the early stages of their academic careers. The network is a collaborative endeavour between Athena Swan and the Graduate School. Postgraduate and postdoctoral research can often be a lonely and isolating time, and many have only their supervisory team or PIs as their principal support and mentor, which can in some circumstances create a barrier to career progression and further increase social isolation. Research by the Athena Swan team has shown that female ECRs struggle to move their careers on, and that many experience bullying, harassment and active discouragement from progressing their careers. This can have negative effects on wellbeing and mental health, and it further increases the gender pay gap. By providing support to women at the beginning of their academic careers, we can foster the resilience needed to succeed in academia as well as create a support network and alternative informal mentors.
This is a grassroots network, led and grown by postgraduate and postdoctoral women at the University of Kent. This is an open network for any early career researchers who identify as female (e.g. PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, research assistants and early career researchers on temporary contracts). To join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.