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#TalkIWD – catch up on the Twitter chat for International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day is an annual call-to-action, dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women across all sectors including: social, economic, cultural and political. The theme for this year was #BalanceforBetter, calling for progress towards gender balance and continuation of the ongoing fight for equality.


To mark this day Future Science Group hosted a Twitter chat (#TalkIWD) where five female scientists gave their thoughts on gender equality within science, including: Emma Yhnell (Health and Care Research Wales Fellow, Cardiff University, UK), Taylor Walker (Biomedical and Engineering Master’s of Engineering candidate, Cornell University, NY, USA), Balkees Abderrahman (Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Research, MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX, USA), Amy Alexander (Senior Biomedical Engineer, Mayo Clinc Department of Radiology’s Anatomic Modeling Lab, Rochester, MN, USA) and Lisa-Maria Needham (Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Cambridge, UK).

Throughout the hour of engaging conversation, our panelists dedicated their time to answering questions and discussing how we can #BalanceforBetter. Take a look at some of the highlights below: ​

The challenges

All of the panelists mentioned at least one challenge they have faced throughout their career, many of which others were able to relate to. Their answers included a lack of confidence, to imposter syndrome and job stability.​



Gender stereotypes and biases

While gender biases are not as overt as they once were, throughout the conversation many of the panelists highlighted that there are still stereotypes and unconscious biases women face throughout their careers. 


Retaining women working in STEM

Although numbers vary from field to field, as individuals move up their academic or career ladders, the number of women in more senior and leadership roles in STEM declines. What can be done to improve this?


Representation matters


Representation in the media, at conferences, in literature and in the workplace all matter. The panel took the opportunity to note why we should take the time to highlight the work of women and why it is important for women to be seen in a range of settings and environments.


The importance of mentoring


As highlighted by many of our panelists, mentoring is an important and key component for the success of an individual’s career, whether it be academic or otherwise. As well as this, some panelists emphasized that it should not be restricted to women mentoring women, but also men mentoring as well.

Everyone has a role to play

Overcoming gender inequality cannot be done alone, as important as it is to feel empowered as an individual, we need to work together and continue supporting one another; this also isn’t limited to women, men have a role to play too – as well as institutions and organizations.


A message for women on International Women’s Day

We concluded the chat by asking the panelists for either a piece of advice or a key message they have for others. All their answers were equally inspiring, encouraging others to pursue what they are passionate in, regardless of the obstacles.


A massive thank you to our panelists for taking the time to participate. We had some wonderful perspectives, highlighting some of the challenges women in STEM face and discussing how we can work to overcome them.


This Twitter chat was part of a bigger conversation as the aims of this campaign do not end on International Women’s Day. We must continue to keep the conversation going in order to dismantle the structures in place that dissuade women from pursuing a career in STEM and make them feel inadequate in their positions – collectively we must all play a part to achieve #BalanceforBetter.


Take a look at the content across out other digital sites:


The Women in Malaria Research Initiative 

International Women’s Day: a day in the life of Tamara Miller


International Women’s Day: a day in the life of Selina Wray

Women in drug discovery: an interview with Gemma Nixon​