In 2021, not a single Nobel winner in the scientific categories was female despite us all benefiting from the work of many brilliant women scientists. Women make up less than a quarter of the STEM workforce and, in the UK, just 16 per cent of engineering graduates. While progress has been made, these facts serve as a stark reminder of the need to do more to boost gender diversity in science and engineering.
Addressing this disparity isn’t just a question of striving for a fairer society. It’s also fundamental to giving the scientific community the best possible chance of finding solutions to complex challenges that affect us all. If we don’t encourage women scientists, or fail to give them the support, tools, funding and environments they need to flourish, we will severely limit our ability to tackle global issues such as the climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Imagine the global Covid-19 response without Sarah Gilbert’s discovery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine or Katalin Karikó’s invention of the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. There would arguably be no end in sight to the pandemic; no hope of returning to normality. Other members of the scientific community would have stepped forward, but this scenario illustrates a fundamental point: as a global society and economy, we cannot afford to lock out female talent.
To read more : Times Higher Education