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International Day of Women in Science

Women transforming science

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Sunday 11th February 2024) we are sharing the experience of three scientist working in different areas of STEM, each making a postive impact in their sector.Here they offer their perspective and a little advice on being women in science.

Dr Martine Barons

Director of the Applied Statistics and Risk Unit

"When people tell you ‘you can’t’, take that as a hypothesis to be tested, and not the final word!

No one is more surprised than I am that I am a successful academic. At school, I was told I would never cope with A-level Maths, and so I didn’t try. In my 40s, I was ready to test that hypothesis! During my Maths degree, I discovered mathematical modeling and how we can use Maths to make life better for people! From traffic jams to medicine, manufacturing to emergency evacuation, the mathematical sciences have a lot to contribute to understanding and solving problems. 10 years after achieving my PhD, I have worked with a lot of different business, industry, and government collaborators and helped address many challenges. The working-class child I was never thought I would be a good fit for a job like this. It turns out, this job is a great fit for me!"

Dr Talar Moukhtarian

Assistant Professor Warwick Medical School

“Being a woman in science has been for me a transformative journey of self-discovery and growth. It has made me a resilient and determined scientist. Remember to always embrace setbacks, turn failures into stepping-stones, and let passion guide you.

As a woman growing up in the Middle East, I faced cultural expectations that often devalued women's contributions and limited opportunities beyond traditional roles. Moving to the UK, meant leaving behind family and familiarity, adding the challenges of being an immigrant to the struggle of finding employment. Despite these obstacles, my journey in academia has been transformative, empowering me to defy societal expectations and pursue my passion. It has taught me resilience, adaptability, and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. Through research, I've found my voice and platform to advocate for change, challenging stereotypes and advocating for gender equality. It has shaped me into a strong, independent woman, driven by a commitment to create a more inclusive and equitable society. My journey in research has not only enriched my academic pursuits but has also profoundly shaped my identity and purpose, inspiring me to continue breaking barriers and making meaningful contributions to the world."

Professor Harbinder Sandhu

Professor of Health Psychology

Embrace, value and celebrate curiosity as a scientist to learn, ask questions, challenge, be creative and drive change through discovery.

I have established a research career in clinical trials centered around the design and testing of complex behavior change interventions in musculoskeletal health and broader long-term conditions. Recently, I have led a multi-centre randomized controlled trial, testing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an opioid tapering program for people with chronic non-cancer pain. This clinical trial gave me opportunities to develop and grow as a leader, working with a great team of co-investigators nationally and internationally. My passion, determination, and curiosity to help people on long-term opioids helped drive me through challenges, problem solve and with my team deliver robust evidence. It has also given me the opportunity and confidence to take this beyond research and to implementation, impact, and innovation.”