The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, just outside of Cambridge in the UK, is a major center for genomic research. Nearly 1000 people work there and they’ve recently begun a Sex in Science program which has led to an Athena SWAN award.
When I visited them recently, we recorded a short interview. In it, I emphasized how one important prerequisite for gender equality in the workplace is gender equality at home. That requires a significant infrastructure ranging from affordable day care facilities to effective transportation systems to employers who are willing to accommodate the sometimes unpredictable needs of employees with young children.
When offering advice to early career women, I touched on this issue more directly than I usually do, encouraging them to bring the topic of gender equality at home into their discussions with a potential life partner. It can be crucial for their future career success.
I also touched on key issues for organizations wanting to change. The impact of the top leadership is profound; changing your workplace culture is going to be an uphill battle unless your management is committed to the idea that it’s a mistake to sacrifice part of the talent pool for reasons completely unrelated to the jobs being performed.
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about this video. Does it touch on important issues? What do you wish I had said differently? How would you answer these questions? What other topics would be useful to have in this format?
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