International Women’s Day: Helping Women in Science Lead the Way.
Earlier this month, International Women’s Day 2020 was celebrated all over the world.
From arts performances, talks and rallies, to networking events, conferences and marches, women came together to force the world to recognise gender imbalance and inequality. While celebrating the achievements of inspiring women, it also serves as a reminder of the work that needs to be done, demanding change in the process.
With that in mind, the latest announcement from Amanda Solloway, the UK’s first dedicated female Science Minister, will come as welcome news.
She announced that over 100 entrepreneurial women and young people are to benefit from government-backed funds to turn inspiring ideas into thriving businesses. Committing almost £3m and a package of business support, she hopes to aid innovation in areas such as clean energy solutions and healthcare technology, as well as other notoriously male-dominated sectors of the science industry.
The announcement comes after reports that female entrepreneurs could contribute £250bn more to the UK economy if they were able to start and scale their businesses at the same rate as men. (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/rose-review.html) The obstacles to this, from funding and opportunities to pay imbalance, are the things this programme hope to tackle.
Speaking on International Women’s Day, Solloway said: “Looking through the UK’s history, we find inspirational women in every decade, from Ada Lovelace to Rosalind Franklin and Dorothy Hodgkin. Their discoveries had a profound impact on all our lives.”
“We are committed to supporting women and young people and opening up new opportunities for them. Initiatives like the Women in Innovation Awards and the Young Innovators’ Awards will help the next generation of inventors turn their unique concepts into businesses.”
The package will include a £5,000 grant, one-on-one coaching and an allowance to cover living costs. The three-year programme targets 18-30 years olds from a variety of backgrounds with a particular female-friendly focus. In partnership with the Prince’s Trust, the Government-backed award will support young people in creating and bringing to life ground-breaking business ideas.
Ben Marson, Director of Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust said, “we believe that every young person should have the chance to thrive in the workplace. We know the immense potential and entrepreneurial spirit of young people in the UK, but not everyone has the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality.”
A further £500,000 has been set aside for pioneering female entrepreneurs to develop innovations, tackling climate change, cleaner transport and improving healthcare services. Ten female inventors will be awarded with a cash injection of £50,000 each, as well as receiving coaching and mentoring.
It is now proven that diversity in businesses is a driving force of economic growth. From better gender representation to fairer pay parity, equality in business, industry and politics makes financial sense. Yet the figures reveal that there is still much more work to do, and that programmes like this one are of vital importance.
According to the World Economic Forum, In 2019 women effectively worked ‘for free’ from November 14 until the end of the year, all because of the gender pay gap. It is said that the gender gap won’t close until 2186. (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/284658)
Hopefully 2020 will see some positive change on that front, and maybe we’ll discover more inspiring women innovators and business leaders along the way.