IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast: Catalyzing Diversity in Science

In chemistry, as in many other science disciplines, achieving gender equality remains a goal that has yet to be reached. The IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast, an annual event held in February, calls on organizations worldwide to pave the way toward a more equitable future for all genders.

Women scientists are making significant strides in every field, yet obstacles like the gender pay gap and the ‘leaky pipeline’ phenomenon persist, hindering progress towards true equality. What can be done to address these challenges?

Each February, on a designated day, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) rallies science organizations around the world to join forces and collaborate in bridging the gender gap in chemistry and in science as a whole. In this spirit, this year’s theme of the IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast on February 27 is “Catalyzing Diversity in Science.”

On this occasion and as a proud sponsor of the Global Women’s Breakfast, we would like to share with you a selection of inspiring and informative quotes from three leading women chemists who have recently contributed to IUPAC publications.

Covers of the journals Chemistry International, Pure and Applied Chemistry, Chemistry Teacher International

We hope you find their insights enlightening and that they inspire meaningful conversations!

Dr. Marinda Li Wu

Chemist & Past President of the American Chemical Society (ACS)

“There is a lot of progress needed before women reach full compensation equity, at least in the United States. While 40 % of chemists and material scientists were women in 2020, the median annual salary of those women was only 75 % of what men earned. This relative salary differential remained about the same from 2020 to 2022.”

“While the percentage of women faculty has increased over time at the top universities for chemistry across the world, […] women still account for less than 20 % of the total. This is lower than the percentage of women Ph.D. graduates and researchers.”

Marinda Li Wu

“One bright note is the current Board of Directors for the American Chemical Society is now composed of 11 women and only 5 men. That is the opposite of what it was only ten years ago […]. Thus, the ACS has made much progress in terms of diversity.”

“I am very optimistic for the young women of today who develop an interest in chemistry. The tremendous challenges faced by early women pioneers have given way to great opportunities. […] My hope is that, like women before them, they will have the passion, courage, and determination to seek what they deserve – even if it means traveling to another country to pursue their education.”

Read on: “Women in chemistry: remarkable progress, but are we there yet?” in Pure and Applied Chemistry

Dr. Laura L. McConnell

Analytical chemist & Fellow at Bayer Crop Science

“IUPAC […] has been working to tackle one of the most important challenges on our journey towards global sustainability: to close the gender gap in science to ensure that all scientists are able to bring their expertise and talents to the table and can connect with each other.”

Laura McConnell

“I hope that you can see more clearly the benefits of being curious and partnering with a diverse network of colleagues to enhance the power and impact of your research. What will your future bring? How will you contribute? Are you open to new adventures in science? Consider how you can build a network of colleagues to help amplify the impact of your work for the long term.”

Read on: “Global Partnerships Provide a Path to Sustainability” in Chemistry International

Prof. Mei-Hung Chiu

Professor Emerita of the Graduate Institute of Science Education, National Taiwan Normal University

“I love teaching and interacting with my students. I want my students not to underestimate themselves. They are, and should be, creative, critical, and open-minded to allow various possibilities to be explored.”

Mei-Hung Chiu

“I would encourage female students and colleagues by saying ‘Be yourself, be confident, face the challenges and conquer them. And realize your potential for yourself and for others!’”

Read on: “My journey in chemistry education” in Pure and Applied Chemistry

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[Title image by Stígur Már KarlssonHeimsmyndir/E+/Getty Images]

The Editors

Articles signed by the editors were written in a collective effort.

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