MRC Suffrage Science Award 2015 for Professor Alicia El Haj

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MRC Suffrage Science Award
Posted on 18 March 2015

Professor Alicia El Haj, Director of the Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine has received the MRC Suffrage Science 2015 Award. The Suffrage Science event was hosted at the Royal Society in London on International Women’s Day (8th March) to commemorate, promote and unite women across science and engineering. The award ceremony includes the passing on of heirloom jewellery, inspired by the jewellery awarded to women of the Suffrage movement, from one generation of leading women scientists to the next. Professor El Haj received a necklace from Mandy Fisher, Director of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, and Vivienne Parry, science journalist and BBC broadcaster.

During the award event the audience was asked to reflect on the situation for today’s women scientists compared to 1945 when Marjory Stephenson and Kathleen Lonsdale became the first female Fellows of the Royal Society – asking “Is the world of science pale, male and stale?” There were mixed feelings with the majority of the audience agreeing that the situation for women scientists had much improved, yet women still do not have equal opportunities in science and that there also needed to be a focus on class and racial discrimination. Rather than copying men, audience members felt that women’s confidence needed boosting and that society should seek to support individuals and break down stereotypes; to “let people be people and science be science”.

In 2017, Professor El Haj and the other Science Suffragettes will pass on their heirlooms to encourage more women to pursue leadership roles in the engineering sciences.

You can read the full story with the complete list of Science Suffragettes and photos of the celebration event here; MRC Clinical Sciences Centre | Suffrage Science 2015: Is the world of science pale, male and stale?