Laura Norton - Working Towards Gender Equality in Academic Science

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In Europe, approximately half of PhD graduates are women, in life sciences more than 50% (SHE, 2015). However, there is a dramatic drop in representation of women at leadership levels, with only 20% of grade A researchers and 15% of Directors of Institutions being women (SHE 2015 report). Despite the fact that gender equality is morally right and the fact that we are losing valuable talent and expertise, ultimately we need it to carry out the best science. The Babraham Institute, Cambridge UK, holds a silver Athena SWAN award and are partners on a Horizon 2020 EC funded project LIBRA - leading innovative measures to achieve gender balance in research activities. Through both of these projects we have been able to begin to address individuals’ unconscious biases, change policies and working practices and provide a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone to flourish and develop their careers. We hope to create an inclusive environment that will attract and retain the best scientists irrespective of gender.

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