- Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 11:34
Congratulations to BFWG Member named in the New Year Honours:
Margaret Tait MBE, General Council Assessor, University of Edninburgh, for services to Education.
“I am indeed honoured that my services to higher education at the University of Edinburgh has been so recognised. Like many members of BFWG I have worked tirelessly at local level at the University which I attended as a student in the 1960s. I was elected as a member of the University Court in 2002 and I found my position unique, having first-hand experience of being a student at my Alma Mater, being well-versed in University matters, respected by staff and students alike not as an employee but an independent member, and able to speak out on matters of reputational concern when others could not.
My particular involvement was as a mathematics graduate and I used my experience to influence the improvement of facilities on the Science Campus. I serve on the Project Board of the soon-to-be-opened Wave and Current Tank which is a major testament to the skill and expertise of academic engineering staff, pioneering new techniques and excellence globally and showing the University’s inventiveness to the world. This facility will aid research into wave-power as an energy resource for future green energy requirements for Scotland for the future.
The science campus has kick-started a recognition that staff and students with young families require an on-site high quality children’s nursery to give them peace of mind to continue with their academic studies and careers without anxiety; I played a major part in implementing this policy and I look forward to the opening of the state-of-the art building now under construction. I have used my influence to persuade die-hard academics that childcare is and should be an essential part of young academic life and worked to achieve this aim. We grandparents despair at the number of women academics who feel they must postpone starting a family – it is never the best time to interrupt one’s career! All we can do is to make it easier for them – using our influence to ensure they have the facilities they need.
I have also worked with academics to encourage women in scientific disciplines to climb the academic ladder. The proportion of women in professorial and senior grades is still unacceptably low. I encouraged the University to attain the gold standard within the Athena Swan (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) Charter; its principles advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM). A key incentive for women is a commitment to flexible working practices to help women achieve. Emphasis on career development during the annual work-appraisal processes rather than negative criticism provides an encouragement for women to fully participate and ensure successful progression of their careers in academe.
It is always nice to know that your work has been appreciated – it was the University who nominated me for this honour and for that I am truly grateful. Like many on BFWG I have given many hours voluntarily for the benefit of others, particularly women – we know as women graduates where and what the stresses and difficulties are. I intend to continue.”