International Women's Day - The Value of Visible Role Models
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2023, we asked the women at the centre of CodiKoat to discuss the importance of role models, gender balance in STEM industries and more.
“If it’s something they really want to do then there’s nothing that can stop them”
For Senior Microbiologist Dr. Cigdem Williams, the value of role models cannot be underestimated when it comes to inspiring the next generation of female scientists.
“Most teenage girls, including myself I think, at some point find themselves thinking “can I do this?”. They shouldn't be asking themselves “can I do it?”, they should be thinking to themselves “yes I can do this and I will try!”.
Once they know that, then 9 out of 10 times they will realise that if it’s something they really want to do then there’s nothing that can stop them. “
Project Manager Maryam Arjangfar used her university experience to propel her scientific dream:
“I never had specific role models growing up but when I went to university, most of my lecturers were women. You couldn't help but look at them and see that they were smart and successful and knowledgeable - and all in a scientific field. It meant a lot for me to see women in those positions. It inspired me!”
Visible women in senior leadership roles
CodiKoat Office Manager Amanda Ord believes that a lack of visible women in leadership roles is a significant obstacle:
“I think it's massively important to celebrate women, as women have come on a huge journey in the last 60-80 years. It’s such an impressive journey in a considerably small amount of time in the grand scheme of things - particularly to where we are now.
Still there are obstacles and one of them is not having enough women in senior leadership roles. For young girls, if they’ve got women in those roles to look up to, then they know it’s achievable for them. If they can see those women powering through and achieving great things, then it can inspire them to believe that they can succeed too.”
Dr. Zeynep Aytac, R&D Chemist at CodiKoat, also believes that for women to succeed in STEM industries long term, we need more visible female leaders:
“When you see an environment that is full of men, we may not do this consciously but we tend to believe that this is an environment that is only for men. This is why leadership roles are so important. We can be scientists in universities, but when we only see male leaders, we begin to understand that women are often stuck at scientific positions and cannot climb that ladder.
If we begin seeing more women in leadership roles, we can start to believe that we can also be leaders. The same goes for young children, if they see a woman Prime Minister, President, Minister, engineer or scientist, then they will think, 'Okay, I can also be a scientist, or an engineer, or a Prime Minister'.”
This blog is part of a series of articles published by CodiKoat in celebration of International Women’s Day 2023. View our other published content here: