UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021
February 11, 2021
For this year's #WomenInScience day we celebrate all the amazing women who have made great science happen with the CCDC over the past year.
The UN describes how less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women, and how only 30% of women students select STEM subjects in higher education. We recognise our responsibility to address this imbalance as a charity, a trusted data repository and resource for over 22,000 scientists globally.
Our actions over the past year
At the CCDC we always try to support and promote women scientists wherever we can – here’s just some of the actions we have taken this past year to empower women scientists, in the wider community, our user community and in our own team.
1 Hosting great women speakers at our virtual events
We have hosted a variety of virtual events, to keep scientific exchange and communication live and well throughout the pandemic.
While we have welcomed some fantastic women speakers this year, we would love to host more this year – please email us on if you would like to share your work at any of our upcoming virtual user group meetings.
This year we hosted the following scientific presentations at our virtual events:
- Professor Rommie Amaro – Open Data and Methods for Biomolecular Simulation and Drug Discovery
- Dr Louise Dawe – Remote instruction as an opportunity for students to engage with structure
- Professor Jennifer Swift – Data mining the CSD for hydrate-anhydrate pairs with the Python API
- Xiangwen Wang – DFT-Based molecular dynamics studies of electrolyte solutions
- Associate Professor Dr Alice Brink – The nuclearity manipulation of radiopharmaceuticals: How to bridge the CSD & PDB
- Professor Elena Besley – Computational screening of porous materials for biogas upgrading
- Dr Katherine Kantardjieff – Challenges in teaching in a post-covid world
- Dr Amy Sarjeant – Towards a one-click protocol for in silico analysis
- Dr Tina Qin – Research Data Management in grant requirements
We also welcomed inspiring women scientists to our virtual careers clinic discussion, to hear their advice for a successful career:
- Dr Susan Reutzel-Edens – Senior Research Advisor – Lilly
- Professor Sarah (Sally) Price – University College London
- Dr Jennifer Webb – Team Leader in Particle Science – Syngenta
- Prof. Noor Shaker – Founder and CEO – Glamorous.ai
Additionally we welcomed fantastic women educators as guest bloggers in our CSD Educators series:
2 Adding Diversity as a core value – scored in every employee appraisal
This past year at the CCDC we have reflected on events around the world, and the need for better understanding and inclusivity. This led us to add diversity to our core values.
Our values are more than words – we use them as guidance in interviews, and everyone is scored against these attributes in their annual appraisal.
3 Made sure our team are informed of the issues
We welcomed Jessica Wade to speak at our virtual CCDC Journal Club, to inform the whole CCDC staff about the imbalance of representation and recognition of women in science, and what steps we can all take to address this.
4 Kept the CCDC flexible as an employer
While flexibility benefits all of our staff, the pandemic added to home, care and childcare responsibilities which are known to fall predominantly to women. By keeping working hours flexible for our team we are doing what we can to support our women staff.
5 Celebrated the achievements of women scientists in our team!
Our science teams include so many great women, and their contributions have been critical in our mission to advance structural science. Our Data and Community team is 64% women, Materials Science and Discovery Science teams are 50% women.
There are too many developments this year to name, but to give just a sample:
- We guest edited the special issue of CrystEngComm celebrating the CSD reaching 1 million structures
- Our data and community team brought us to 1.1 million structures just a few weeks ago!
- The 7th CSP Blind Test launched, with a diverse team selecting structures, organising the format, and releasing the most challenging test yet
- A cross-section of our team started the BioChemGraph project to improve synergy between the PDBe, CSD and ChEMBL databases
- As a collaborative team supporting one another across all genders we delivered 3 major new releases while changing to remote working for all departments.
Just some of the CCDC team. It’s a virtual group photo this year – but the team continue to support and lift each other through every project!
Our plans for the future
While we hope these actions have contributed, we recognise there is still work to be done.
This year we hope to welcome more women speakers to our virtual events. Please email us if you’d like to speak – women are less likely to apply to speaking opportunities, but this small step can really increase visibility and representation. We will also work to invite more women speakers.
Additionally, we are exploring organisational standards we could apply to, to ensure that we continue to keep gender equality at the forefront of our minds as we grow and evolve.
To all our science community across all genders, we hope you will continue to support, collaborate and advance science together, and we wish you a bright and successful 2021.
Women in Science (1)