Athena Swan Charter

Launched in 2005, the Athena SWAN Charter works with its partners to develop and disseminate good practice in science, technology, engineering and maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research, with the aim of the advancement of women. In 2015, the Charter was expanded to recognise work in non-STEMM departments, as well as professional and support roles and for trans staff and students. The Biochemical Society was a founding sponsor and co-funded the Charter, which makes awards to universities and departments based on their gender equality practises, and co-held Athena SWAN best practice workshops in 2015 and

Daphne Jackson Trust

The Biochemical Society continues to work with the Daphne Jackson Trust, who help support STEMM researchers return to work following a career break. The Society has previously sponsored two Daphne Jackson fellows:

Dr Helen Thompson (2016 – 2018)
Dr Marjorie Gibbon (2014 – 2016)

Gender at our Scientific Events

The Biochemical Society requires appropriate representation of women as invited speakers and aspires to 50:50 gender balance at its Harden Conferences, scientific meetings, training events and sponsored events.

Women in Biochemistry Year

In 2013, we celebrated the centenary of the admission of female members of the Society with a series of initiatives. These included supporting Ada Lovelace Day 2013, organising a series of high school lectures given by female Biochemists and sponsoring Women in Science sessions at the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) annual conference 2013.

History of women in biochemistry research projects

The Biochemical Society appreciate the value of reporting and cataloguing our rich history of biochemistry in the UK.
As part of our centenary celebrations in 2011, research was undertaken in conjunction with the University of Warwick to provide an insight into the work and lives of women biochemists in Britain from the inception of the Biochemical Journal in 1906 to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. This work was led by Professor Robert B. Freedman (Biological Sciences), Dr Vicky Long and Professor Hilary Marland at the University of Warwick.

To continue our exploration of the role of women in biochemistry in the 20th century, we undertook a research project
to investigate the lives and work of female biochemists from 1945-1975. This involved the collection of data from 35 years of Biochemical Journal archives, obituary and biographical databases, published books and institutional archives. It also involved the identification of living women authors and gaining insight into their experiences first-hand via questionnaires and interviews. 

Diversity research

In November 2008, the Biochemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET launched two reports examining the retention of women with PhDs in chemistry or molecular biosciences – ‘The chemistry PhD: the impact on women’s retention’ and ‘The molecular bioscience PhD and women’s retention: a

survey and comparison with chemistry’.