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Embracing Equity on International Women’s Day


Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses and occupations have been underrepresented over the years but the number of women in STEM is growing. In 2016, 42% of the science professionals workforce were women and in 2019, this figure increased to 46%.

Looking at the 2019 figures, 26% of graduates in core STEM subjects were women and 24% entered the STEM workforce, indicating there is still room to achieve a balance between men and women entering STEM.

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“Time to reflect on the progress that women have made”

At Race Against Dementia (RAD), we are proud to have 71% of women on our research team.

Chief Executive Officer of Race Against Dementia, Bridget Barker, explains:

bridget barker chief executive officer race against dementia
Bridget Barker, CEO of Race Against Dementia

“International Women’s Day is a good time to reflect on the progress that women have made in all areas of life over the last 40 years or so. When I started work in the City of London in 1981 in a law firm, there were very few women in senior roles. Unfortunately, the same has been true in the world of science. Happily however, things have changed and a woman is no longer limited by her gender. A woman can, provided she has the determination to do so, take on whatever role she likes.

At Race Against Dementia, we have been able to fund work carried out by some inspirational early career researchers. Out of the 14 RAD Fellows and RAD Associates that we support, ten are female. They are spread around the globe – in the UK, Europe and the US. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we wish them every success and hope that their contribution to dementia research will help find a cure for or a way to prevent dementia, which is such a cruel disease and affects so many families worldwide. The Race Against Dementia must be won!”

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“There’s still more work to be done”

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity and when looking at the global landscape of women in STEM, RAD Fellow Dr Karissa Barthelson at Flinders University, Australia shares:

“As a female scientist in dementia research, I know first-hand the importance of embracing equity. I’ve seen the progress towards greater gender equality in this field. I’m grateful for the doors that have opened, the barriers that have been broken, and the increased awareness of the value of diversity and inclusivity. But there’s still more work to be done, and I’m excited to be part of this change. Let’s keep pushing forward towards a more equitable future.” ~ Dr Karissa Barthelson

In the video below, RAD Fellow Dr Wioleta Zelek explains there is a general struggle for women in STEM to progress in their careers and to establish leadership roles.

At Race Against Dementia, all the RAD Fellows are taught leadership skills through specialised programmes with the guidance of business psychologist specialising in leadership development and executive coaching

Dr Karissa Barthelson and Dr Penny Moyle at Flinders University, Australia

Dr Penny Moyle, who is RAD’s Development Programme Consultant, and in collaboration with industry experts including the teams in Formula One.

While there are still opportunities to develop the role of women in science, there are also reasons to celebrate on International Women’s Day.

RAD Fellow Dr Maura Malpetti enthusiastically shares with us:

Dr Maura Malpetti at Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) Translation 2023 conference
Dr Maura Malpetti at Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) Translation 2023 conference

“There is still so much to change, to progress and improve the world over – but there is also a lot to celebrate, like all the fantastic, inspiring and trailblazing women I have met and continue to meet on my journey in dementia research. They are truly inspirational. I believe that diversity of thoughts, perspectives, and background, including gender, can be the key to unlock Science, and I am grateful for anyone who is fighting hard to improve this, including Race Against Dementia!”

To learn more about the RAD Development Programme and industry collaborations, read here. Key stats source: STEM Women

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