According to data from The UNESCO Institute for Statistics, women make up fewer than 30 per cent of scientific researchers worldwide. Despite these statistics, progress is being made, especially in certain sub-sectors, such as the life sciences industry, where women make up 49 per cent of the global workforce.
The vital contribution of a diverse workforce has been further highlighted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but wider imbalances, such as representation in senior positions and pay disparity, continue to be a global issue. However, evidence of positive progress can be seen within scientific organisations such as Medicines Discovery Catapult.
Currently Medicines Discovery Catapult has 57 per cent women in its workforce, with 64 per cent female representation within their lab-based scientists. In addition, the Medicines Discovery Catapult managed Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab, employs over 750 staff, the majority of whom are scientists – and 48 per cent of them are women. Medicines Discovery Catapult also shows constructive progress within its senior leadership, with a 40 per cent female senior leadership team.
Medicines Discovery Catapult is proud of the gender balance within its workforce and celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science annually. The occasion not only highlights the valuable contribution of women in the sector but also aims to inspire the next generation of women in science, with the 2021 celebrations highlighting female Medicines Discovery Catapult scientists who played a vital role in the UK’s COVID-19 response.
As well as celebrating the role of women in combatting the COVID-19 virus, and as part of British Science Week in March 2021, Medicines Discovery Catapult partnered with Levenshulme High School, arranging a series of events for students at the all-girls school, which aimed to break down societal misconceptions surrounding careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and gain wider gender representation.
Although Medicines Discovery Catapult has done much to highlight the role of women in science, they recognise that they are just at the beginning of their equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) journey and are working to further integrate these values into the core of the business.
Other activities Medicines Discovery Catapult are continuing to develop to promote EDI include: