Championing Women in Science20th December 2023
As we eagerly anticipate the North East Women in Life Science event in February 2024, it’s a pivotal moment to celebrate the incredible strides women have made in science. Despite the significant progress however, the journey toward gender parity in STEM fields remains challenging. STEM Women statistics highlight a positive trend with the increase in female individuals graduating in core STEM subjects from 2015 to 2022/23. Yet the gender gap continues, emphasising the need for continued efforts towards inclusivity.
The importance of gender diversity in science
The historic underrepresentation of women in STEM has been a persistent battle, affecting their presence in academia and industry. The uptick in female graduates in core STEM subjects reflects progress, but the pursuit of genuine equality demands sustained commitment.
To assess the extent to which women are presently credited in science, we spoke with Caitlin Mooney, Research Chemist at High Force Research Ltd. Her perspective sheds light on the obstacles faced by women working in the scientific sectors. Reflecting on her experience, she shared, “I know when I was doing my PhD, I felt really disheartened at the split between male and female members of staff, especially as you went higher up within those organisations. And so for now, to be doing something that kind of tries to target that imbalance, we’re all immensely proud to be doing that.”
Her words encapsulate the critical need to address gender imbalances, particularly in higher echelons of scientific institutions, and emphasise the importance of initiatives aimed at fostering gender diversity in these spaces.
Inclusivity: a catalyst for superior outcomes
Diversity serves as a springboard for innovation, promoting creativity and advancing problem solving abilities. Embracing diverse perspectives within scientific teams cultivates an environment of collaboration and multifaceted thinking. In the scientific sphere, this diversity leads to comprehensive research, pioneering discoveries and solutions that resonate across varied demographics.
Strategies for encouraging more women into science and advancing their careers
To add weight and first hand perspective to this discussion, we asked Caitlin Mooney to share her experiences and insights on celebrating women’s achievements in the scientific community. As she aptly expressed, ‘Expanding one’s personal networks beyond familiar territories, actively engaging in industry events and embracing involvement in mentorship programmes are crucial. This approach is beneficial for newcomers seeking guidance early in their careers and equally valuable for experienced professionals willing to contribute by volunteering in mentorship initiatives. Whether seeking advice or offering expertise, these actions foster a robust community that supports and uplifts women’s contributions across different career stages.’ Her words echo the significance of connectivity and mentorship in acknowledging and honouring women’s contributions in science.
Understanding trouble spots for women
Recognising and tackling the specific concerns women in science face is imperative for accelerating their development.
From reducing unconscious biases to confronting unequal opportunities for professional growth, proactive measures can lay the groundwork for a setting that provides support for everyone.
Alleviating biases and celebrating contributions
The elimination of unconscious biases should be embedded within organisational culture. Recognising women’s accomplishments, promoting their work and actively nominating them for prestigious awards not only underscores their excellence but also serves as inspiration for aspiring female scientists.
Facilitating chances for growth
Equal access to professional development, training and leadership roles is central to increasing women’s visibility. Offering mentorship, coaching and clear professional pathways ensures that women receive equitable possibilities and commendation alongside their male counterparts.
Integration of D&I policies
Communicating Diversity and Inclusion policies throughout the organisation is instrumental in raising awareness of the company’s D&I efforts.
These policies must be integrated into core frameworks, objectives and everyday practices to build a culture that empowers all.
Breaking stereotypes in science
According to Future Learn, ‘there are still some outdated stereotypes that exist with regard to education and the capability of women to work in STEM industries’. These generalisations suggest that STEM industries are better suited for boys, discouraging girls from pursuing careers in these fields. This mindset affects workplace environments, undermining the confidence of aspiring female professionals. Thus, organisations must strive to combat these misconceptions, inspire young minds and reshape workplace cultures.
How a specialist scientific recruiter can help to drive change
A professional scientific staffing consultancy such as CY Partners plays a key role in amplifying gender diversity within organisations. By adopting an inclusive approach to talent acquisition, we ensure a diverse pool of candidates for scientific roles, breaking down hiring biases. We act as a bridge between talented women and progressive science-focused businesses.
At CY Partners, our dedication to diversity and inclusion is unfaltering. In 2023, our placements across various science businesses proudly reflected a 60:40 female-to-male ratio, reenforcing our commitment to furthering gender diversity. We take pride in endorsing women’s involvement while actively supporting organisations in their attempt at creating a more inclusive atmosphere.
While meritable progress has been made in advancing gender diversity in science, the fight for parity is far from over. It necessitates continuous dedication and adherence to inclusive practices. As we applaud women for their valuable influence in science, let’s collectively steer towards a future where every voice, regardless of gender, is not just acknowledged but celebrated. Organisations need to create the conditions where diversity isn’t an exception but a fundamental cornerstone for improvement.
As we move forward, let’s maintain this momentum! If you’re a woman aspiring to climb the ladder in science or a hiring organisation seeking ways to optimise inclusive hiring practices, we are here to lend a helping hand. Please contact us here.
Join us at North East Women in Life Science 2024
We’re thrilled to be partnering with High Force Research Ltd to co-organise and promote the North East Women in Life Science 2024 on February 7th in Newcastle. This event aims to champion women’s success and promote equality in science.
Here’s a preview of this special event from Caitlin, ‘the event will spotlight a diverse array of subjects. Our speakers will offer scientific talks, delving into their research and job roles, offering a glimpse into their day to day responsibilities. Moreover, our interactive Q&A sessions are designed to bring a personal touch, where audience and prepared questions take centre stage. Expect conversations touching upon work life balance, overcoming imposter syndrome and the impact of mentorship. The event is a melting pot of scientific knowledge and personal development, tailored to empower and guide aspiring female scientists.’
So do come say hello and offer your support towards this exciting initiative.
Should you have any questions before the event, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Grab your tickets here and mark your calendars!