Women in Biotech | Cambridge



I’m very proud that the next BIA Women in Biotech event will be taking place in my home city of Cambridge. These events are among the most popular on the BIA calendar and provide an opportunity to hear from and network with inspiring women from across our sector.

The event will enable women to discuss the challenges and opportunities they find in their workplaces. What always shines through from these evenings is the shared collective belief in the work of the life sciences sector and the difference our work can make to patients across the world.

In the past year we have had a female Prime Minister, women are set to head the European Commission and European Central Bank, and according to WISE there are now a record 900,000 women working in core STEM jobs, but events like these are still important.

We are a world away from the attitudes and beliefs that pioneers like Rosalind Franklin faced. After gaining her degree from Cambridge University in 1941 it would be another six years before the University began to award titular degrees to women and retrospectively award former female students the same level of qualification as their male counterparts. As Rosalind Franklin was part of the team that discovered the double helix, she clearly demonstrated that scientific creativity results from skill, insight and diversity of thought and has no gender boundaries.

While women in the UK no longer face these blatant levels of discrimination, there are still obstacles which must be addressed. Research by the organisation Pipeline found that in 85% of FTSE 350 companies there was no female representation on their boards. In pharma, while there was a rise in women represented on executive committees, there was also a drop in the representation of female executive directors and a drop in the number of women in profit and loss management roles. It is clear ground needs to be made up in in the boardroom and this will be important as we continue to encourage young women to pursue career paths in the life sciences.

Tackling diversity challenges in the workplace is the theme of the evening in Cambridge this September and whether in the laboratory or the boardroom, we need to ensure that gendered barriers are better understood and dealt with, so that women can reach their potential in our sector.

Hosted at Babraham and chaired by Sally Shorthouse from Bird & Bird, you will hear from a stellar panel of women who are working on a variety of crucial issues for our sector. For this edition of the series the BIA is encouraging women to bring a male colleague to the event, to help this conversation spread and deepen within our organisations.

For more information on the event and to register, please follow this link.


Dr Jane Osbourn OBE

Chair of the BIoIndustry Association