11 Feb 23

Women and girls in science: championing diversity and the next generation of scientists


An interview with Dr Clio Andreae from GenomeKey

Many studies show that gender diversity has a significant positive impact on scientific excellence and advancement, however, only around 30% of the world’s researchers are women (UIS). 

Progress is being made and the future of women in science is bright and promising! As seen in our very own ecosystem, women continue to make great strides in changing the world of science, and our Science Creates Outreach programme is committed to making science accessible to all.

We are celebrating this year’s International Women and Girls in Science Day by highlighting one of the many female trailblazers at Science Creates, Dr Clio Andreae, Senior Scientist at GenomeKey. Clio is an experienced Molecular Microbiologist who works with her team at GenomeKey to critically accelerate the diagnosis of bacterial presence, species and antimicrobial resistance, from days to mere hours. 

Learn about what inspired her to become a Senior Scientist, and why she feels that sparking women and girls’ interest in science is so important. 

What inspired your passion for science?

At school, I was initially terrible at science and much preferred art. However, I enjoyed learning about DNA and how the world worked in Biology, and after working hard during my GCSEs to get an A, I went on to study A Level Biology, and an undergraduate degree and PhD in biology, with the support of encouraging teachers.

I enjoyed learning about bacterial infections and how antibiotics worked during my PhD so I knew by that point that I wanted a career in this field. Now, with a career in exactly that, my drive is to make an impact on the medical field, to produce a product that will be valuable for clinicians, and to help save lives. 

I want women and girls to know that, through hard work and self belief, you can be your best self. You don’t have to be ‘naturally gifted’ in a subject to be good at it, you just need to have the drive to learn and do your best. You don’t have to be the smartest student in your class to be a scientist!

Which challenges do female scientists face?

Throughout my career I have been surrounded by wonderful and inspiring female scientists who have shown me that you can achieve whatever you want. However, the majority of lecturers and commercial seniors I work with tend to be men, and I have witnessed female colleagues face challenges when returning to work following maternity leave. This needs change because women and girls need to be provided with inspiration through visible role models, equitable opportunities for progression, and flexible working that allows them to have a good work-life balance.

Why do you think it is important for us to champion women and girls in science?

Young girls need to see that there are many successful women within science, and that they too can achieve whatever they set their mind to. Women embarking on their scientific careers need to work with fellow women and see women leading in their fields because they can guide you to being your best self. At school you don’t hear much about the women that are changing the world, so putting them front and centre and championing the work that they and their teams are doing is incredibly important for inspiring the next generation. 

How can the scientific community, organisations and the public work together to diversify the faces of science?

Public education is key to raising awareness of groundbreaking scientific research and supporting diversity. Whether it’s holding talks or sharing scientific content about the work of innovative companies, we need to show that science is fun and get girls involved in science at an early age because they too can change the world as our next leaders.

Find out more about how Clio and her team at GenomKey are tackling healthcare challenges posed by bacterial infections and the use of antibiotics here, and discover how Science Creates Outreach is inspiring girls to improve the world as the next generation of scientists here.

Photo credit: Christy Nunns.

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