BWiS

Tell us a bit about your network

We are the Black Women in Science (BWiS) Network, a network that strives to be a community of women of African and Caribbean heritage in various stages of their scientific careers.  BWiS was founded by Tomi Akingbade in 2018 as a platform to connect black women in science industry, she feels is important to increase our visibility and the existence of a strong network of black women in the scientific industry will normalise the presence of successful black women in the scientific industry. Since its launch in April 2018, BWiS has grown to be a community of 60+ individuals with over 500 followers on social media. The BWiS team (made up of Teteh Champion, Lela Pea, Gabrielle Stapleton, Esther Adebisi and Dr Maria Agusta Aruda) is committed to further growth of the network.

What is your network’s prime objective?

It is no secret that black women face pressures both within and outside the workplace. The BWiS Network believes that everyone should be encouraged to not only pursue careers of their choice but excel in their industry. It is our objective that black women are encouraged to excel in their chosen careers and celebrated for their achievements. BWiS is here to equip black women in science with he tools they need to build successful careers for themselves.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

BWiS Network is helping black women by increasing the visibility of black women in science, celebrating their successes and giving a platform for their stories. We’re reminding black women that they have as much right to exist in the scientific industry as anyone else.

Tell us about your events?

BWiS is yet to hold any physical events but has plans to hold some in the future. If you want to the first to know about our events be sure to become a member if you’re a black woman in science, otherwise subscribe to our mailing list.

What should we expect if we join?

Currently, the BWiS website hosts a blog section and a private members forum. The blog section of our website keeps our members up-to-date with the latest scientific news, and the members’ forum provides a safe and private place for black women to connect and empower each other.

As a network, our aim is to be what our members’ need us to be, so we are open to taking suggestions from subscribers/members.

How do our members join your network, is there a fee?

Joining BWiS is 100% free! Both subscriptions and memberships are free. For members, all we ask is that they fill out the membership form after signing up to the website. Our team is made up of inspirational black women of science who volunteer their time of energy. The network relies on the generous donations to keep running.

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

Jump in and realise that ant network is what you make it. In a sense, what you put in is what you get out. We speak more about this in a post on our blog, The Power of a Network (https://www.bwisnetwork.co.uk/blog/thepowerofanetwork). The most important thing is that you remain yourself and remember that you’re not alone in whatever you are going through.

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

We believe your network contributes massively to you as an individual. Having a team and community that support you can do wonders for your confidence.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

We believe that the future of the network is bright. Next for BWiS is physical events, more subscribers and more members. Also, in the future, the BWiS Network is keen to be a unified voice, impacting legislation and influencing change so that black women feel comfortable and supported in their careers. As an inclusive network, BWiS is also keen to consult with companies and organisations that wish to better understand the realities of what it is to be an African and/or Caribbean woman in the