International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022: Olivia Wang
Olivia Wang is a trainee Patent Attorney, based in our Birmingham office. She graduated from Imperial College London with a degree in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering. She realised the potential to become a patent attorney during her final year at university, where a patent application was filed directed at an apparatus in an experiment that she was working on.
Are there any people, institutions, or projects that encouraged you to undertake scientific education or that supported you during your career?
Women in STEM encouraged me to pursue my degree in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London. I remember that I thoroughly enjoyed attending a two-week course at Royal Air Force Cosford to encourage women to join engineering-related fields. This course was organised by Women in STEM.
During my time at Forresters, my supervisors have supported me along the way. They have been patient and encouraging. Weekly training sessions with them have been vital in passing my exams and improving my understanding of the law.
You’re a member of the Equality & Diversity (E&D) group at Forresters. Can you explain your role?
Forresters’ Equality and Diversity group aims to foster an environment which truly represents our colleagues, to help Forresters be a leader of equality and diversity in our sector, and to make sure every voice and experience in our company is listened to. I attend E&D meetings regularly to discuss ways to make the profession more diverse and inclusive or to get updates on E&D proposals that we have submitted to the Partners. We have discussed topics such as raising awareness for men’s mental health on International Men’s Day, tattoos in the workplace, maternity and paternity leave enhancements, for example.
I have contributed to leaflets that the E&D group distributes for World Religion Day, Black History Month, Pride, Non-Binary People’s Day, etc.
I really enjoy our discussions during the E&D meetings; it is encouraging to see so many people strive towards an equal and diverse workplace. Further, we have made progress in various proposals that have led to positive changes. It feels good that we are making a difference at Forresters.
Is there anything the E&D group has achieved that you’re particularly proud of?
I am very pleased that the gender-neutral policy at Forresters has been updated by using gender-neutral language (they/them) if someone’s preferred pronouns are not known. We are also in the process of introducing our preferred pronouns onto our email signatures. This ensures that accidental misgendering does not occur.
Furthermore, terms in the Maternity and Paternity policies have been improved following the E&D group’s proposal.
I am also proud that we raise awareness and provide information surrounding important E&D dates.
What might be done to encourage more girls and young women to study science at school or university?
Encourage young girls by having more workshops, in-school and out-of-school programmes relating to STEM fields available in schools. Furthermore, parents and educators should encourage girls to defy stereotypes that maths and science are only for boys. Confidence plays a significant role in a girl’s success in science and maths in the early stages of education.