How Women in Science Contribute to a More Inclusive World



HUBWeek united innovators from around the world in Boston, Massachusetts, from October 8 -14 to inspire curiosity and break down silos for a more inclusive future. Gender diversity is an important part of this inclusive future. We took the opportunity to ask two women researchers who work at Sanofi and participated in a panel “The path forward for women in science” at HUBWeek to share their thoughts on how they perceive their added value as a woman in science and how they can help bridge the gap to a more inclusive future. Here’s what they told us:

Raolat Abdulai, M.D., M.M.Sc., Clinical Research Director, Immunology & Inflammation Development, Sanofi

Raolat Abdulai, M.D., M.M.Sc., Clinical Research Director, Immunology & Inflammation Development, Sanofi

“My presence [as a woman in science] provides a parallel but equally valuable worldview to drug development. In addition to providing medical scientific knowledge similar to my male counterparts, I take a step further by advocating for the inclusion of underrepresented groups such as women, in early clinical evaluations. This is important for both science and patients because we know that the effect of drugs can be modified by pharmacogenomics. Furthermore, due to occupying the unique space where I am usually in the minority, I have had to develop strong communication skills in order to work effectively with a wide range of people. This translates into enhanced productivity within my project teams and quality of our scientific output.

 

The best thing about having a diverse and inclusive scientific workforce is that people from various backgrounds bring valid challenges to long established ideas. For my part, I actively seek out female collaborators within the company and externally. Due to historical barriers, there are few female scientific and medical knowledge experts involved in important drug development projects despite their expertise. This leads to singular narratives and limited dissemination of fresh ideas. At its worst, the result can be loss of millions of dollars of scientific investment. But we can do better. Therefore, my goal is to ensure female voices are equally represented in scientific and medical discovery.”

Maysoun Shomali, M.Sc., Project Leader in Oncology, Sanofi

Maysoun Shomali, M.Sc., Project Leader in Oncology, Sanofi

“Since the 1990s, we have seen an increase in the number of women who pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) degrees, and in fact more women are studying science and engineering than men. So why isn’t there an increase in the representation of women in STEM industries? While there is certainly a major role at the institutional level, there is a place for each of us as individuals to help our fellow women. First, I am a role model: I am a working mother of two boys; I am scientist and a member of my community. I am defying the odds. I am proof that you can obtain a degree and have a career in STEM. At Sanofi, the recognition and promotion of women in the industry is important to retaining women in the talent pool. More importantly, increasing the visibility of scientists like myself allows other women to imagine themselves in a scientific career ladder, to stay engaged and to be innovative. Also, through my interactions, not only at work but also in my personal life, I am supporting and mentoring my fellow scientist friends and colleagues (both male and female). And finally, as a project leader, I fiercely support the values that Sanofi aspires to have with regards to a work-life balance and by hiring individuals to create a diverse and innovative work environment.”

References

  1. Hubweek website