Take Tiffany Daniels-Thorn, founder of BiVictriX Theraputics, an early stage start-up that’s just secured $1.75m in funding to develop a new class of cancer drugs. Or Ruth Roberts, who is co-founder of Apconix, a company that tests toxicology in newly developed drugs and that’s applying new AI tools to its work.

She left a career in big pharma behind to go it alone five years ago. Then there’s Victoria Savage, head of biology at the Antimicrobial Resistance Centre, which is the UK’s only dedicated R&D facility for this critically important field of work.

Girls and young women need to be able to see people like Tiffany, Ruth and Victoria, hear their stories and understand how they got to where they are today. To the extent that I support positive discrimination in any area at all, it would be in giving a disproportionate focus to the activities of women in science, at least until we have an equal balance of leaders.

With a new government offering vocal and possibly increased financial support to UK science, the spotlight is shining firmly on its future potential. It can only realise this, however, with an increased role for women at all levels.

My sincere hope is that in exploring how funding and policy tweaks can better support areas like R&D, the government and industry can examine how it can better support female leadership too.

A future generation of role models might help us to finally crack the challenge of gender inequality, break the vicious cycle we find ourselves in and bring a new wave of diverse thinking and creativity into the sector at a time when it is helping us all face unprecedented challenges.

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