On International Women’s Day we talk to four members of our research community about their experiences growing up, their ambitions, experiences and advice for other women.
Professor Qing Wang
Professor of Marketing and Innovation at Warwick Business School
Born and brought up in China during the Cultural Revolution, Qing’s parents were intellectuals who had to work in the field and she moved around with her parents a lot. She found solace in books and inspiration from characters in her favourite stories.
“I think I have come a long way considering where I was in my teens. It has been a combination of luck and hard work. I have been very fortunate that when I was finishing secondary school, China was opening up and the universities were open again and thanks to my reading habits, I was able to get into university.
“I think I was very driven perhaps because of the opportunities I didn’t have before. I’m not so much driven by money or status, but I always thought, what is life? I thought we should go through life without regretting and I thought I might regret if I didn’t do this.
“Both society [as a whole] and women [themselves] need to have the right mind set for women to achieve higher roles. Our own mind set as women is important. We have worked hard, we have naturally acquired the right skillsets that should allow us to take on new challenges. We should think of the higher role, not to fulfil some kind of superficial pride but to challenge oneself to become a better person. We are definitely not less capable than our male colleagues.”
Dr Devon Allcoat
Teaching Fellow at WMG, specialising in technology management
Growing up, Devon’s mum was her main inspiration. A successful professional in the male-dominated automotive industry, she inspired her to able to do great things.
“Since I was little, I had a woman in power and doing a really great job in business, to look up to.
“Just as my mum did that for me, I hope seeing female experts on television can inspire bright young women to be able to pursue whatever they want.
“My advice would be not to be too hung up on the perfect vision of the future. I definitely saw myself going in one direction. I always had one goal in mind and I felt that I needed to tailor myself around. Be flexible and let yourself be open to the possibilities of other experiences you might have. Don’t miss out on something because it doesn’t fit into your ideal – because that ideal might change.”
Dr Oyinlola Oyebode
Associate Professor in public health at Warwick Medical School
Having always loved maths and human biology, Dr Oyebode chose to move into public health after meeting two inspirational women early in her research career. She works mainly in understanding behaviours that drive disease – like smoking and diet in the UK and round the world. Now, living through one of the biggest public health challenges the world as ever seen has presented her with her biggest personal challenge – coping with two young children whilst continuing her academic career from home.
“It felt like it was impossible. Every day I’d think ‘Oh gosh I don’t think I can keep going’ but somehow have managed to. I feel like that was a major achievement. Having managed to cope with all that has happened over the past year I feel like I could face pretty much any challenge in the future.
“My advice to a woman or girl wanting to go into a male dominated industry is, even in an industry that looks male dominated, often you find at the senior levels it is, but at more junior levels things are changing. Just because it is male dominated now it doesn’t mean it always will be and I think it’s worth being part of that change. Even if it didn’t change – it’s nice to stand out. You can be memorable if you are the only woman in the room. It’s never a bad thing to be memorable – so go for it.”
Feuer PhD scholar in Computer Science
Oluwafunmilola is from Lagos, Nigeria. She studied Artificial Intelligence as part of her undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the University of Lagos and at the Carnegie Mellon University Africa. She has also previously interned at IBM Research Lab Africa, and is interested in the application of machine learning and computer vision in object detection and tracking.
“My favourite subject at school was mathematics, because it helped me to approach problems in different ways and to consider every challenge as an opportunity to find a solution. It just came naturally to me. I would always look forward to solving a mathematics question.
“One of my biggest achievements so far is the ability to be part of a PhD programme, being at the University of Warwick pursuing one of my dreams as a researcher.
“I see myself working for a global company building solutions for the social good, a company that is contributing to the world through technology. But if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing today I think I would be a teacher, teaching kids how to code. I would empower kids using technology.”
8 March 2021
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