Posted by: Charlotte | March 10, 2011

Innovating women – don’t let female scientists become a thing of the past

Following on from Lina’s post and still on the topic of International Women’s day, I pose a question to you.

Can you name a female scientist? …………(pause for thought)

Marie Curie?



Marie Curie won her two Nobel prizes in 1903 (physics) and 1911 (chemistry). Isn’t it a shame that it’s so difficult for us to name a female scientist since her?

This week I attended an event, ‘Innovating Women’, which was very motivating for women seeking to pursue a career in science and/or wanting to form their own business. Not many people in the audience could come up with anyone other than Marie Curie. It seems that female scientists are somewhat hidden from our eyes. Where are our role models?!

The event was led by Professor Pooran Wynarczyk, Director of the Small Enterprise Research Unit (SERU) who’s research findings show that ‘women are massively under-represented in certain scientific sectors and activities, and face professional and personal barriers, such as stereotyping, institutional sexism, and a lack of access to local female scientist role models and mentors.’

There were presentations aplenty, with female role models talking about their experiences and how they became ‘innovating women’.

Local business woman Louise Allcroft, Chief Executive of Complement Genomics, talked about how her drive to set up her own business stemmed from dissatisfaction in her current role. Her message was that setting up a business was by no means easy and was accompanied by a lot of late nights and worries, but she was really glad she’d done it.

Networking was highlighted as a crucial tool in career success, but something that women can find difficult and lack confidence in. Dinah Bennett OBE, gave a presentation on Women into the Network (WIN),  an organisation that she founded, which run a series of networking events and offers training sessions enabling women to gain advice, support and more confidence when it comes to networking.

Dr Sarah Baille with the Haptic Cow Simulator

A very inspirational presentation was delivered by Dr Sarah Baillie, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, who talked about her invention ‘Haptic Cow’- a simulator to help students learn how to do internal examinations on a cow (yes putting their hand up its backend).

Her job roles have included a veterinarian, computer scientist and a teacher, with her winding career path seeing her identify a problem, develop skills to solve it and then use the simulator she developed as a tool in her teaching role.
So to all you women out there who are considering a career in science, don’t be put off by anything. Just go for it. It can be done, as these inspirational, innovative women show.


  1. Great post, couldn’t agree more. Just wanted to add my appreciation for Felisa Wolfe-Simon, the scientist that discovered that lifeforms don’t need to be carbon based. (Or something like that)

  2. This is really amazing information.

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