Today we are celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We’ve certainly come a long way from the days depicted in Hollywood’s Hidden Figures, and the treatment of pioneers like Rosalind Franklin. However, a gender gap remains and it’s important that we ensure girls and boys are equally confident at pursuing a career in science.
Visiting a careers day for local schools last year, it was an uplifting experience to have girls ask “I want to help cure cancer, how can I do that?”. It was also an opportunity to discuss comments like “science is for nerds” or “I’m not clever enough to be a scientist”. I hope I managed to change at least one opinion!
When considering the attrition rate of women along the life science career progression path I also wanted to highlight another important topic – the lab is not for everyone and there are many weird and wonderful careers out there allied to the sciences. For example, I knew I was headed for a different career when my peers shuddered in fear at the mention of writing up their thesis, but my ‘writing up days’ were the highlight of my PhD!
I now work in marketing communications, bridging the gap between academia and industry. Scientists need to know about the best tools to do their job, and for me this role really is the best of both worlds. I am incredibly awed by our customers on a daily basis and it is a privilege to hear how men and women in STEM are making breakthrough discoveries, in part thanks to our LED illumination technology!