ABSW News

The ABSW would like to clarify that it is a Company Limited by Guarantee. This means that it has no share capital and pays no dividends. This is a standard form of organisation for UK bodies which exist for the public good rather than for profit. It pays no fees to its directors.
 
Our Standing Orders state:
 
Executive Board 3. The ABSW shall be managed by an Executive Board comprising a President , Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, who shall all be directors of the company, and a European Representative (who may be the President), plus up to seven other members elected at the AGM, and up to four co-opted members appointed under Standing Order 8.
 
Furthermore our Articles state:
 
Methods of appointing directors 17. – (1) Any member of the Association, who is willing to act as a director, and is permitted by law to do so, may be appointed to be a director– (a) by ordinary resolution at a General Meeting, or (b) by a decision of the directors both to fill a casual vacancy and to provide expertise not otherwise available
 
As is required by Companies House, we make an annual return listing our Directors.   We also update Companies House when Directors cease to serve or are appointed.   All these details are freely available through our listing with Companies House.
 
Our current Directors are:
 
Martin Ince (President)
Mico Tatalovic (Vice-President)
Victoria Parsons (Treasurer)
Wendy Grossman (Board member)
Connie St Louis (European Representative)

As stated in our previous post we have accepted with regret Sir Colin Blakemore’s resignation as honorary president of the ABSW, with thanks for his support and assistance over the years.  

A statement from the honorary president was requested by the ABSW board.

In the light of the Observer article of October 11, the board of the ABSW wishes to point out that the Association’s Standing Order 16 (published on this web site under About Us, Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders) sets out the procedure for making a complaint about a member of the ABSW. It has not received the notification needed to start a case under this process, which involves a formal complaint in writing, but will of course act upon any such complaint it may receive.

 

We have accepted with regret Sir Colin Blakemore’s resignation as honorary president of the ABSW, with thanks for his support and assistance over the years.  He has made it clear that he disagrees irreconcilably with the statement we issued in June about media attacks on our former president, Connie St Louis.

As anyone looking at this web site knows already, this relates to her reporting of remarks to the Korea Federation of Women’s Science and Technology Associations by Sir Tim Hunt at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul on June 8. Sir Tim has not disputed the accuracy of St Louis’s reporting and has apologised to the Federation for his comments. Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, is on record as saying that Sir Tim’s comments were unacceptable.

The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) of which the ABSW is a member has published their September Newsletter.

Download the Newsletter for all the latest news or access the newsletter via their website.

The WFSJ website has recently undergone a complete re-vamp so drop by to see all the resources and news available.

The Board of the ABSW gives its full support to former President and current Board member Connie St Louis, Director of the MA in Science Journalism at City University London.
 
Connie St Louis has been the subject of online abuse and of attempts to discredit her professionally, simply for pursuing a story that she thought correctly was interesting and important.
  
The comments tweeted by Connie St Louis highlight the issue of sexism in science and the frustration that many feel at the slow progress being made to address it.  The reaction has included the #distractinglysexy campaign which has drawn attention to women scientists as intelligent, funny and clever women and great career models.  
However, this positive development has been overtaken by a media furore directed at Connie for the everyday act of reporting a news story. As an organisation of science writers which fosters excellence in journalism, we are deeply disturbed by this behaviour.
 
The ABSW would like to see a healthy debate on the issue of sexism in science, and has commissioned research on sexism in science journalism. Its members recognise that they have a role to play in the way they portray women scientists.  
 
Journalists need to be free to carry out their jobs without fear of personal attack. The ABSW Board is proud to support Connie, as it will support any of its members who may find themselves subject to such abuse in future.
 
City University has now issued a statement, along with a statement from Connie St Louis:
 
 
Yesterday's blog by Professor Uta Frith, Chair of the Royal Society Diversity Committee, soundly refocuses attention on the issue of sexism in science:
 
 
UCL has also released a strong statement regarding its commitment to equality for women in science:
 
 
 

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