Breaking the Bias for International Women’s day

International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on 8 March every year. Its focus is on highlighting women, calling for equal opportunities and removing discrimination. The theme for 2022 is ‘Breaking the Bias’. 

We spoke to some of the women working in research in Cambridge, who told us what ‘Breaking the Bias’ means to them. Find out more about their role and why they believe International Women’s Day is important.

Vivien Mendoza

Vivien Mendoza – Matron, NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility

“It means getting involved in a discussion and decision making, taking into consideration the skills of the staff involved: get others’ opinions and work as a team – and make use of each other’s strengths and consider each other’s weaknesses.”

Read more about Vivien’s role at the CRF and how she went from a neurosciences ward to working in research.

Tracy Cripps, Senior Research and Development Project lead

Watch the full video from Tracy on why International Women’s Day is important and on facing and overcoming bias in the workplace.

Debbie Clapham-Riley

Debbie, Governance and Ethics Co-ordinator, NIHR BioResource

“It’s important to continue the push for women to be empowered to understand they can do it. Woman can be incredibly hard on themselves and that shows in a lack of confidence. International Women’s Day is a great platform to show women that actually yes you can do it, we as women can achieve and inspire life changing things.”

Debbie has worked in NHS administration for nearly 20 years. She has recently started a Masters in Law, find out why she wanted to work in research.

Jo Piper

Jo Piper, Manager, NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility

“International Women’s Day is a celebration of amazing women throughout history, championing their achievements. I think this theme is to ensure that we all challenge any ‘biased’ behaviour- everyone should be treated the same free of bias, stereotype or discrimination. Science / research should be open to all who want to work in this field and should not discriminate against anyone.”

Find out what this year’s theme ‘Break the Bias’ means to Jo.

Professor Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Watch Professor Ford explain the importance of visible role models for International Women’s Day.

Nita Forouhi

Professor Nita Forouhi, Programme Leader and Honorary Consultant

“There are many conscious and unconscious biases related to gender and ‘Break the Bias’ is a call to recognise and acknowledge that fact and take action to reduce such biases.”

Professor Forouhi has worked in research for more than 17 years, find out what International Women’s Day means to her.

Rose Eichenberger, Governance and Ethics Manager,
NIHR BioResource

“‘Break the Bias’ means a lot to me – and it’s great to see the younger generation of female scientists being confident and present at the forefront of science.”

Find out about Rose’s role and how she was determined to work in research.

Anne Elmer, Matron, NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility

Anne meets research teams everyday, she has noticed interesting choices when it comes to choosing a career in research.

Watch this short video, which also features a response from NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Centre Director Professor Miles Parkes on how we are achieving near parity in senior research roles held by women. See also Prof Parkes’s comment below.

Prof Miles Parkes

Professor Miles Parkes, Director of NIHR Cambridge BRC, comments on the importance of International Women’s day and how more women are working in senior roles in Cambridge.

“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to highlight disadvantages that women may face in their careers and professional lives, as well as celebrate the enormous contribution women make to research.

“Across our NIHR Cambridge BRC organisation, many senior roles or positions of influence are held by women such the leads for our Office for Translational Research, for our Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit and our legal team.

“Since our recent organisational refresh, almost 50% of our theme leads and members of the senior executive committee are women. These women are at the top of their fields; they are world-class scientists and are the right people for the job.

“We’re building a research culture and environment such that everyone (not just based on gender, but all aspects of life and diversity) is made to feel welcome on our campus.”  

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