Driving gender equality in science

Helen Parkinson and Ele Zeggini are acknowledged for promoting gender diversity in science with the 2017 Best Practice Award. Presenting the award (left to right) are Ewan Birney, Mike Stratton and Rolf Apweiler.

Driving gender equality in science

7 Mar 2017 - 16:28

Best Practice Awards

Helen Parkinson (EMBL-EBI) and Ele Zeggini (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) have been acknowledged as champions of gender equality in the annual Best Practice Awards on the Wellcome Genome Campus.

The third edition of the awards comes just in time to mark this year’s International Women’s Day. The prizes were awarded by EMBL-EBI Directors, Ewan Birney and Rolf Apweiler, and Sanger Institute Director, Mike Stratton. “The Best Practice Awards were set up to celebrate the people who make a real difference to gender issues,” explains Birney. “The awards are part of a wider initiative that aims to support women scientists during different phases in their career.”

Striking a balance

Helen Parkinson, Head of Molecular Archival Resources at EMBL-EBI, was nominated for "actively supporting measures known to benefit women, such as flexible working hours and improved maternity leave".

At the end of the day, work-life balance is beneficial not just to female researchers, but to the entire scientific community

Asked about what motivates her to support women in science, Parkinson answered: “I am a woman in science and I know how important it is to work in an environment that is balanced and satisfying. There are many things we can do as a campus to encourage more women into science, from the way we write job adverts to the flexibility of maternity leave and working schedules. At the end of the day, work-life balance is beneficial not just to female researchers, but to the entire scientific community.”

“The work that Helen has done to promote gender equality in her team, more widely in her cluster and as a mentor stood out among the other nominations,” said Ewan Birney, Director of EMBL-EBI.

Ele Zeggini, Group Leader at the Sanger Institute, was nominated for being an exemplary role-model and providing leadership that has delivered tangible working practice improvements. She has also driven a cultural shift in attitudes towards women in the workplace, which has permeated throughout the organisation. Zeggini initiated the Wellcome Genome Campus Sex in Science Programme.

Visit the Sex in Science Programme webpage to find out about Genome Campus activities that promote gender diversity. 

Contact the news team

Vicky Hatch | Communications Officer


Oana Stroe | Senior Communications Officer


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