Today’s Inspiring Women blog post to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 is from Dr Cristina Aguilera Xiol. Dr Cristina is the Project Manager at Genomics England and has been volunteering with us since October 2014.
‘I studied Biochemistry at the University; in my class there were far more young women
than men – no need to count, it was evident. During my PhD in Biomedicine, around half of the students were female. During my PostDoc, the number of women started to decrease but, more importantly, most of the Group leaders were men. This is not just my experience; research shows that there is substantial attrition of both men and women along the science and engineering educational pathway to first academic position which is expected. Nevertheless, there are major differences between the patterns of attrition between men and women: fewer high school girls intend to major in science and engineering fields, even more alter their intentions to major in science and engineering between high school and college, fewer women science and engineering graduates continue on to graduate school, and fewer women science and engineering PhDs are recruited into the applicant pools for tenure-track faculty positions (1).
Why is this happening? How can we change this trend? I do not have answers to these complicated questions but I feel concerned so I decided to volunteer to Inspire Women to ensure girls can see what women are capable of. I feel that meeting role models inspire young girls to pursue their passions and dream BIG, knowing that other women have already gone through the path they dream of.
I studied at the University and did my PhD in Spain, then came to the UK following my dream of having a career in science, and today I can gladly say I do. I am very grateful to this country that welcomed me and my family. The best way I found I could contribute back is by volunteering and help make the Uk, Europe, the world really, a better place ensuring young women and young men can achieve anything they are able to dream of. UK as well as Spain and many other countries in Europe have two essential society pillars: Education and Healthcare. I work in Healthcare but I am as well passionate about Education. The primary role of Education is to provide people with knowledge and confidence to make a difference in the transformation of society – we need to invest in Education to ensure our children create a better world for everyone. Volunteering for Inspire the Future is my little contribution to this brighter future.’
- Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. National Academy of Sciences (US), National Academy of Engineering (US), and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2007.