University of Nottingham: Women scientists get on their soapbox to inspire next generation

Vaccines, snakebites and new treatments for brain tumours are some of the subjects being covered by women scientists who are taking over Speakers’ Corner in Nottingham to share their knowledge with the general public on 16th July.

Women academics from the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Birmingham and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine are bringing the first ever in-person Soapbox Science event to Speakers’ Corner to engage the public in ground-breaking research and challenge traditional science gender stereotypes.

Soapbox Science is a novel public outreach platform promoting women scientists and the science they do. The events take place across the world and transform public areas into an arena for public learning and scientific debate. There are 12 inspirational women speakers from the world of science, technology, medicine and engineering taking part in the Nottingham event with talks throughout the day – 11-1pm, 1-2pm and 2-3pm.

It’s so important for the next generation of scientists that there’s better representation of all genders in science. Each time you put dynamic exciting speakers in front of children and their families you boost the chances of one of them thinking ‘yeah – I can do that!’. Budding scientists need to see themselves represented in the population of scientists they see. That’s what we want to do – it’s not just about selling the science but more importantly the *scientist*. This is going to be a really fun day for people walking by Speakers Corner, and you might learn some science.
Rebecca Dewey, Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Science and a past presenter and organiser of the event
Speakers’ Corner Trust promotes freedom of speech, public debate and active citizenship. In 2008 the Trust worked with Nottingham City Council to establish Nottingham Speakers’ Corner in King Street. Since then many individuals and organisations have used the spot, just in front of the Brian Clough statue, to campaign, to protest and to hold vigils. The space is available for anyone to use.

What better place to learn from each other than to gather in the open air and listen to some amazingly talented speakers? These university scientists will inspire the next generation of female innovative thinkers so we are delighted they have chosen to stand at Speakers’ Corner in Nottingham.
Louise Third MBE Chair of the national charity Speakers’ Corner Trust
Dr Zahraa Al-Ahmady, a senior lecturer in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology and a member of Nottingham Soapbox Women in Science Organising Committee, said: “We are delighted to finally see our first in-person Nottingham Soapbox Women in Science is taking place this July This event is unique in the way it promotes women as scientists and addresses gender equality in science. We have 12 fantastic female scientists who are going to stand on their soapboxes and tell us all about their journey and the amazing science they do.”