Global News | Feb 11, 2021

Our Chief Scientific Officer Louise Scott shares why she is so proud to lead a highly diverse team in a male-dominated sector.

Let’s celebrate women and girls in science.

I studied in a predominantly male environment and while there is still a lack of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines, there is progress to celebrate.  That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to lead the Research & Development team at Avon, in which 70% of our scientists are women.  I passionately believe in helping people to prosper and fulfil their potential, whatever their gender, culture or ethnic background and in enabling people to bring their best self to all they do each day.

The world celebrated the first women to win the physics prize in 55 years in 2019, so it's right to ask if we have made enough progress on women in science. UN Women quotes: “The jobs of the future will be driven by technology and innovation, and if the gender divide in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is not bridged soon, the overall gender gap is likely to widen.”  When I talk to other women and girls, there’s this feeling that it is still a male dominated profession.  Things are changing and there is more gender balance in some disciplines like biology but still a way to go in others, for example, in engineering. 

Whether choosing a science career or any other, I am passionate about enabling women to develop their career and have the balance to be able to raise a family. The important thing for us, at Avon, is that we allow our teams to work flexibly to help parents to get the right balance – particularly at those times in life when they need to dedicate time to children.

I know that it’s possible – I’ve worked my whole life and have been privileged to bring up two daughters.  I’ve always had to balance my work and home life and it’s not always been easy.  It was a tremendous relief when my children said to me a few years ago that they were happy that I’ve always worked, since it showed it was possible to ‘do both’.

So, on the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s celebrate women and girls in science.  An equal proportion of women’s and girl’s voices, perspectives and expertise in science, technology and innovation is critical to help us find the best solutions and drive change.