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WITS @ WorldCon Science Fiction Convention 2019

  • 23 August 2019

Anne-Marie Flaherty of the WITS Executive spoke at WorldCon. She writes:

On Sunday 18th August, I had the absolute privilege and pleasure to deliver a talk at WorldCon, the World Science Fiction Convention. This was the first time the convention had taken place in Dublin in its nearly 80 year history.

I spoke about the importance science fiction has in my life. How it played a major role in getting and keeping me interested in real science and its value as a promoter of inclusion and diversity for women, minorities and people who are often seen as unconventional, or different. In Science Fiction difference is embraced and valued as a way of strengthening a group.

As a visually impaired child the positive attitudes to difference gave me courage to try things I was interested in. I developed strategies to adapt, discovered things I loved doing and even if I was unsuccessful it was only a failure, if I didn't learn from the experience.

I discussed WITS and our mission and spoke of the value of retaining women and encouraging women returning to the world of STEM, when there are still many barriers that we face. it was fantastic to be able to engage with people on topics that I am passionate about.

Amazingly, directly after my talk I had the opportunity to meet the incredible @Jeanette Epps, PhD. Astronaut, & Aquanaut. I am in awe of her and her work and, the amazing things she has achieved throughout her career to date. She is a genuine inspiration to women and girls In STEM. She also spoke of the importance of retention of women and how she firmly believes that inclusion and acceptance is what will get us to Mars. I'm really excited to see what the future will bring for her and NASA exploration.

Many thanks to WITS for the opportunity to represent the executive and talk about my experiences in such an amazing forum.

Anne-Marie Flaherty WITS Executive