Meet Some of the Women Who Are Helping Find Solutions to Covid Through STEM

During this uncertain time, one thing remains certain – women strengthen our STEM workforce. This is especially true as the world works to find solutions to the current pandemic.

We know that diversity strengthens our teams, our boardrooms and societies. However, despite making up half of our society, women account for only 24% of the core STEM workforce.

But this number is on the rise.

There are now 1 million women working in core STEM roles across the UK. To celebrate this significant milestone and to recongise the important work being done by women in STEM, WISE has launched our new 1 of the Million campaign.

Through this campaign, we asked women to share why they’re ‘Proud to Be’ 1 of the Million women working in STEM. Here are just a few responses from women whose work is making a difference in the global fight against Covid-19.

From everyone at WISE, thank you for all that you do.

Christl Donnelly, Professor of Applied Statistics (at University of Oxford) and Professor of Statistical Epidemiology (at Imperial College London)

How has work has changed as a result of the pandemic?

I have worked intensively on outbreaks for 24 years (starting with BSE back in 1996). This time all of our lives are affected by COVID-19 so there is no getting away from work. It has been really intense since the middle of January, but I’ve had amazing support from family, friends and colleagues.

Why are you Proud to Be 1 of the Million women working in STEM in the UK?

There are so many things we need to learn about COVID-19, its transmission and control. As a statistician and epidemiologist, I can contribute to the design of studies, analysis of data to estimate key parameters and modelling of transmission dynamics under various conditions.

Rebecca Frise, Research Assistant at Imperial Collage London

How has work changed as a result of the pandemic?

At work, we have had to put a pause on our research into influenza to re-focus on SARS-CoV-2. We are interested in the evolution and transmission of this new virus, trying to answer many unknowns. We have reduced the number of people coming into the lab and had to move as much work as possible to working from home and virtual meetings. It had taken a period of time to adjust to the new environment but I feel we have all become closer, even though we are still social distancing.

Why are you Proud to Be 1 of the Million women working in STEM in the UK?

Through this 1 of the Million campaign, I’m proud to have a change to inspire girls and young women to consider further education in STEM subjects.

Rebecca Wray, Consultant, TTP Plc

How your work has changed as a result of the pandemic?

We are the designers behind the CoVent device that will be manufactured by Dyson. A rapid transition of working from home also coincided with the launch of the UK Ventilator Challenge. We all had to work long days, nights and did not have a single weekend for over a month. The personal effort and determination from the team across the companies has been inspiring.

Why are you Proud to Be 1 of the Million women working in STEM in the UK?

I’m proud to be a consultant responding to the UK Government’s Ventilator Challenge

Fiona Palmer, Chief Executive, GAMSTOP

How has your work changed as a result of the pandemic?

GAMSTOP ( is a free service that allows consumers to exclude themselves from gambling websites.  We are concerned that, at a time when so many people are being forced to stay at home during the coronavirus, vulnerable consumers who may have an issue with their gambling might be tempted to spend money they do not have on online gambling. We want to make them aware that GAMSTOP provides a free, simple and secure solution for anyone who wants to take a break from online gambling, and with over 135,000 people already registered with the service they won’t be alone. At this unprecedented time, our focus is to help people take that first step and register with GAMSTOP rather than putting it off whilst the country is in lockdown.

Why are you Proud to Be 1 of the Million women working in STEM in the UK?

Working in technology has enabled me to set up and deliver GAMSTOP. I’m proud to be making a difference by safeguarding people online from gambling addiction.

Take part in the campaign – share your photo and story to our webpage so that you can be included in our interactive photo collage. Find out more and how to get involved here.

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