On the 12th February, the University of St Andrews Biology Society (BioSoc) launched their student-led event in honour of International Women in Science Day, in collaboration with other science-related societies within the University. The event was opened by our guest speaker, Prof Clare Peddie who described her fulfilling journey towards a career in science. Her accomplishments, in becoming the first female for multiple high-ranking positions within the Science community in St Andrews, including the first female Head of the School for Biology, is admirable to many.
Her presentation was followed by an interesting panel discussion, facilitated by the stimulating questions which came from the audience. This panel included representatives from the School of Physics (Dr Vivienne Wild), School of Chemistry (Prof. Alexandra Slawin) and School of Biology (Dr Rona Ramsay and Mrs Penny Hood). The discussions brought to light that while science is still percieved as a male-dominated field, more women have undoubtedly begun to leave marks and legacies behind; encouraging a new generation of female scientists to follow in their footsteps. The panelists have also concluded that although there are many improvements still to be made for women in science, the gender equality gap in science has diminished significantly over the last decade.
The evening was later brought to a close with a networking reception of wine and cheese, allowing students and staff to engage in discussion in a more informal environment, which was greatly appreciated by many. It was a wonderful opportunity for the university community of all science disciplines to mingle and discuss the obstacles faced by women in science, and the importance of gender equality, in a casual and informal setting.
International Women in Science Day is a day to celebrate and admire the contributions of women in science. Countless female scientists have had major impacts on the world, but many have gone unnoticed. Because of this, BioSoc endeavours to establish this as an annual event, to recognise achievements made by women in different areas of science, and to provide a platform for students, staff, and the public to acknowledge and discuss the challenges still faced by women in science today.