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International Women’s Day on 8 March was an opportunity for our researchers to be role models to girls and women with a passion for science.

Researchers from across the department took part in activities to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The day coincided with National Careers Week and so was a wonderful opportunity to inspire students at Oxford Academy about research taking place in Oxford and career paths available. Across the day we spoke to over 200 students aged 14-18 covering topics from viral infections, broken hearts, fighting cancer, animal research, super expensive equipment and using fat from liposuction to study allergies! A huge thanks to Dr Amanda Anderson, Dr Yvonne Couch, Dr Natalia Sampaio, Dr Clare Hardman, Dr Liz Tunnicliffe and Dr Sally-Ann Clarke for their enthusiasm and hard-work preparing their talks. The students were full of questions and inspired to look into lab-based work experience options. The Oxford Academy Careers Manager said it was one of the best sessions she’s ever hosted and the teachers were full of praise for how well the researchers presented.

Meanwhile, Prof Anna Gloyn and her team spent the day at Headington Prep School, taking students there through the wonders of genetics – from strawberry DNA extraction through to gene regulation in virtual reality, the girls had a wonderful time getting to grips with genetics. The day included asking the girls to draw a scientist and it was wonderful to see how many female scientists they drew. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the day and several parents have said their children couldn’t stop talking about DNA when they got home.

Nicki Gray from the MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology returned to her secondary school for an ‘Inspirational Women Evening’. Along with other former students she discussed her career and life since school, followed by a Q&A session.

Associate Prof Leanne Hodson spoke at the Townswomen’s Guild Annual International Women’s Day Luncheon in Banbury to 120-130 women aged 40-85. She discussed ‘Fats, Fellowships and Females!’

A big thank you to all involved in the day!