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Report from the Women in Science Symposium hosted by the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge

The MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit recently hosted their first Women in Science Symposium on Wednesday 28th of October in the CBU Lecture Theatre. The event, which was motivated by the idea that women in science must support and encourage one another, was organised by the CBU's newly formed Equality Committee. The symposium celebrated and showcased women senior scientists who have at some point been associated with the CBU.

A packed lecture theatre enjoyed speakers sharing experiences of particular challenges they have faced as women, strategies they have developed to overcome these, insights into things they might have done differently, and suggestions on how to balance family life and career. Speakers included Susan Gathercole, Dorothy Bishop, Anne Cutler, Bundy Mackintosh, Nilli Lavie, Sophie Scott, Karalyn Patterson, Barbara Wilson, Elisabeth Hill, Kim Graham, and Vicki Bruce, as well as Jenny Brookman, chair of the Cambridge AWiSe network. Each speaker had an incredible and unique story to tell, with several themes emerging through the day. These included the tremendous value of practical and emotional support in one's professional and personal life, the beneficial aspects of cultivating self-confidence and the courage to take risks, and the importance of inspirational role models and/or mentors at key stages in one's career. There was general consensus that all women in science, irrespective of stage of career, serve as role models for those who are more junior, and with this comes a certain level of responsibility. It was also emphasized that it is important to be aware of the gender schemas that we all have and how these can undervalue women's contributions to science and disadvantage women from advancing to senior positions. The event was a great success with many asking for it to be repeated annually.

To read the full report on this event please click here.

Posted on 17/11/2009

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