Women of Influence: New Cancer Research UK initiative

Proof we need Girl Power

The gender pay gap and lack of office hours flexibility is not the only workplace woe that men and women need to address. Making sure women feel confident and supported as they climb the career ladder is just as essential to progress.

The new Cancer Research UK Women of Influence initiative, spearheaded by Tamara Box, Partner and Head of Structured Finance at Reed Smith and supported by ELLE publisher Meribeth Parker, is a collective of successful businesswomen determined to support and mentor female scientists and help them achieve their career ambitions.

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Historically, the science world is male-dominated and talented young female scientists still feel that they are less likely to reach their professional goals than their male counterparts.

Why? One reason is that returning to work after having a child is a daunting prospect when you’ve been out of the loop for months particularly in an innovative and fast-paced field such as science.

A survey of 2000 women has revealed that 22% of women felt their employers didn’t allow enough flexibility when they returned from maternity leave and 27% of women couldn’t work as much as they wanted due to the cost of childcare.

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Women also think more workplace development opportunities would help boost their careers, with 68% of women saying flexible working hours are needed and 66% believe training would help boost their career confidence and propel them to senior positions.

In this exclusive survey in association with ELLE, the Women of Influence initiative also uncovered some worrying statistics:

  • One in five women has had their career held back by gender discrimination at work

  • Of women who were in a position to do so in the past 5 years…
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