CSG’s Women in Science
11 February 2021 by CSG
2021 marks the 6th annual day for International Day for Girls and Women in Science, a UN initiative to encourage gender equality, equal access to and participation in science, technology, mathematics and engineering for girls and women across the world.
Over the past 15 years, there has been a global drive to inspire girls and women to pursue studies and careers in science. However, girls and women have been steered away from science-related fields because of long-standing bias and gender stereotype. Worldwide it is estimated that only 12% of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workforce consist of women and about 30% of girls and women choose to study a STEM-subject when they go into higher education.
On a national level, the issue unfortunately persists. According to UCAS, women consisted of only 26% of all graduates who earned a degree in one of the core STEM subjects in both 2018 and 2019. Furthermore, of all people who have a STEM-job in the UK only 24% identified as women.
Treatment Director Jen Cartmell, who has a degree in Environmental Chemistry, says, “we are proud to have a diverse workforce at CSG, with a number of women in managerial and science roles, and we are constantly looking for talent that can join the team. CSG is an Equal Opportunities company and we take our responsibility to eliminate gender inequality in the workforce very seriously.”
Sam Hibbert, a technical waste assessor at Cadishead, says she was inspired by her college chemistry teacher to become a scientist “He was very engaging and passionate about science and went beyond the curriculum giving real-world examples of how science is fundamental in day-to-day life. I realised that without past scientific discoveries we would not be where we are today and I knew I wanted to know more, which is why I decided to study Chemistry at University”.
Technical Waste Manager Cheryl West has always been interested in science “there is so much to learn – science is solving problems and finding answers. It is so diverse and exciting and links into so many different parts of life. There are unlimited career paths and opportunities you could follow.”
For mobile chemist Rosalyn Dines the choice of becoming a scientist was obvious – she enjoyed science in school and after some work experience in various medical, laboratory and care settings doing various science-related tasks she knew she would not like a being sat behind a desk “I like being outdoors doing different jobs and where no two days are the same”.
It is easy to tell that both Sam, Cheryl and Rosalyn enjoy being chemists and that they take great pride over the work they do.
Rosalyn enjoys the customer-facing side of her job like visiting customers’ industrial sites where she assesses and identifies the contents of their waste chemicals before she determines the best way to package and remove them in a safe and regulated way.
“Working for CSG allows me the freedom to plan and organise my day to complete the jobs allocated to me. I feel like I have a good work and life balance at CSG, which is very important to me.”
For Cheryl being a scientist is more of a passion rather than a job “working in the waste industry is extremely interesting with no two days ever being the same and it is very satisfying when you find new technologies and ways to treat waste.”
“CSG’s whole ethos encourages people to take ownership of their own development and actively supports employees’ ideas for developing the business. There are many women in senior key positions and the teams are very family oriented with very low turnover which builds strong bonds. I think we are relatively unique in that approach within the waste industry.”
Sam, on the other hand, enjoys the variability of working in a science role – she constantly has to think outside the box and investigate solutions, as the answer is not always as straightforward as one may think. She explains “at university, it was all about asking questions and finding different resources to answer those questions – whether it be your lecturers, books, or the internet. The same applies now – I regularly speak to my managers and colleagues or do my own research to find an explanation or answer.”
“As a Technical Waste Assessor at CSG, the learning never stops. There are so many different areas in the company to learn about, this is what I enjoy the most about my current role. Currently, I provide technical support to CSG’s Laboratory Chemical collection business, transport, and tank cleaning. The variety of my role gives me an insight into the different parts of the company allowing me to grow in my role and guide me to the area I want to specialise in, in the future.”
Inspiring the younger generation is equally important to all three women.
“Being a scientist is a very rewarding career – you might provide a solution to an existing problem or you have the opportunity to create something completely new. There are so many opportunities in science and many various roles where you can make a difference” Rosalyn says as she encourages younger girls to consider a career in science.
Sam agrees “Science opens doors to so many different types of careers such as environmental industries like waste management, laboratory research or even law. You never know where it is going to take you – I never imagined working in waste management – let alone enjoy it.”
“CSG is an Equal Opportunities company which is very important in this type of industry. There is the stereotype that Waste Management is a male dominated industry but at CSG this is not the case.” Sam continues “and if young girls want to study STEM-related subjects and work in industries that were traditionally dominated by men, they should not be discouraged”.
Cheryl adds “If you want a career in science, I would ‘say go for it and do not let anything stop you!’ It is an interesting and satisfying career choice with unlimited career path choices.”