When I take a moment to reflect on the job I do, who I work with and what we’re achieving, I do so with a huge smile on my face. In part because of the fantastically motivated team I’m fortunate enough to lead, but in the main because I simply love what I do.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be well supported in my 30+ year journey working in scientific roles – a luxury not enjoyed by all. This is what makes today’s ‘Women in Science Day’ act as an important red flag to the issues that still exist.
Whilst the UN outline some startling UNESCO figures on the low number of women working in the sciences and low numbers of enrolment in scientific fields by women worldwide, one thing I know for sure is that it’s certainly an improving picture.
I set out on a career path dominated by men in an equally male dominated environment – policing. Women now hold the top three roles – deservedly, because they are the right people for the jobs - but it has taken a long time to achieve this; and they are notable by exception, because there are still too few women in leadership roles in the service.
When I started working in forensic science laboratories I worked alongside some exceptionally talented female scientists. Sadly, when I moved into scientific management roles within policing, this was not reflected and it was some years before my female peer group grew to any significant extent.
I mentioned the fantastic team I’m fortunate enough to work with and am extremely proud that over half are women, including half of the Senior Leadership Team.
It’s an increasingly positive picture, but anything would be when reflecting on years gone by, and that’s no reason to rest on our laurels. The very fact a day exists means there is much more to do at all levels, and we must keep diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do.