Social Responsibility

International Women’s Day – What can we do to address the imbalance?

Wed, 20 Mar 2019 15:38:00 GMT

Gender inequality is rife in the sciences. Many scientific disciplines are male-dominated, leading to harmful stereotypes of what a scientist looks like - think long white beards! Dr Jess Wade not only defies this stereotype, she actively encourages and empowers other women to do the same.

To celebrate International Women’s Day the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health welcomed Jess, physicist, early career researcher and STEM public engager, to talk about gender balance and her mission to change perceptions of women in science.

While working as a Research Associate at Imperial College London on polymer-based light emitting diodes, Jess tirelessly campaigns for gender equality through a variety of different activities and initiatives, such as using social media (@jesswade) to challenge the science gender gap.

Another of the innovative approaches Jess has taken looks to redress the lack of prominence and recognition women in STEM subjects can have by creating Wikipedia pages for every woman who has achieved something impressive in science. She has created over Wikipedia 300 pages in the last year.

More than 400 people filled the lecture theatre in University Place on 6 March to hear Dr Wade speak, and the audience took to Twitter throughout the talk, joining the conversation and sparking powerful emotions around gender inequality.

Not only did the event start discussions on equality, attendees actively addressed imbalances by generously donating sanitary products for the local foodbank Emmeline’s Pantry.

Jess inspired listeners to follow in her footsteps saying: “You feel like you’re doing something really small but you can change things in a big way.”

Whether this is through social media, Wikipedia editing, and even just sending emails to speak out against inequality, we can all do something to help better the gender balance.

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