Introduction to Women’s Week in Neuroscience, 2020

What does it mean to be a woman in science? 

Writer: Ally Gilbert
Editor: Karolay Lorenty

On 8th March, the world commemorated a step in a positive direction towards gender equality and the embodiment of women’s rights. 

To celebrate this auspicious and provocative time, UCL Neuroscience Society organised a week featuring the inspirational voices of women that have contributed significantly to the scientific community. In a series of talks and discussions, female scientists gave us insights into academic careers, their research, and how women are represented in academia. 

This week elicited a much-needed discussion: what does it mean to be a woman in science? 

Frances Edwards, a professor of Neurodegeneration at UCL, kick-started the week, highlighting her contributions to the field of synaptic transmission and Alzheimer’s disease. Most importantly, she tells her story, her journey, trials and tribulations of pursuing a career in academia, as a woman.

Next up was a Q & A with Professor Uta Frith, who is known for her work in autism and dyslexia, but also founded support networks for female scientists. 

Contributions of women to auditory science were elegantly demonstrated by Professor Jennifer Bizley, who leads her own lab at the UCL Ear Institute. Her research unravels the neural basis for hearing, and how vision influences our auditory world; she has made considerable progress in how we make sense of sounds and the importance of context on how we perceive our environment auditorily. 

But how does the compelling research of women get represented in the scientific community? Dr Martha Wicklein organised a panel discussion to address how women and other less represented groups are seen in the realm of teaching and studying, from both the teachers’ and students’ perspective.

Join us in this series of articles and explore the difficulties and victories won by female academics in the sciences. 

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