International Women’s Day provides a fitting opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that our female colleagues make to the Faculty of Medicine and the wider University. From finding new ways to tackle Alzheimer’s disease, working to improve the health of newborn babies, inspiring our future graduates and providing invaluable support in professional services, Medicine would not be what it is without the passion, dedication and expertise of many talented women across the Faculty.

For over 40 years, the Faculty has prepared new doctors and scientists to thrive in an ever-changing work environment, and has been at the forefront of discoveries that have had a huge impact on health across the lifecourse.

Professor Freda Stevenson has led research for four decades to understand how to engage the immune system to treat lymphoma. Her groundbreaking paper, published in Nature in 1975, was one of the first to describe the concept that the immune system could be steered towards fighting cancer, an area in which the University of Southampton is now world-renowned. Colleagues in the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit are changing the way that teenagers are educated about their health and its impact on their future children. LifeLab has now taught more than 7,000 secondary school pupils and an exciting new project with primary school children – EarlyLifeLab – has just begun. And, Associate Professor Judith Holloway became a National Teaching Fellow last year for her tireless work in transforming the MSc Allergy course. She has ensured that students benefit from a focused and dynamic educational experience but, most importantly, that they are able to translate this unique experience into clinical practice.

These are just a few examples, and there are many more, of colleagues’ outstanding achievements. We should also recognise the work that is underway to improve career pathways for women. We have made real progress in addressing an imbalance in promotion applications and in adopting new policies to support women through schemes such as WiSET and Athena SWAN. But, there’s more to do on an ongoing basis – not just on International Women’s Day. Take a look at Geraldine Clough’s blog on career progression and the need to continue to Press for Progress.

The University is marking this year’s International Women’s Day throughout March with a range of profiles, features and news stories, some of which will highlight colleagues from Medicine, on a dedicated web page. We’ll also be publishing stories on our Faculty pages and in Enews. I’d encourage you to show your support by sharing your own stories on social media using the hashtag #UoSwomen and tagging us in with the twitter handle @UoS_Medicine

Thank you – and thanks to Becky Attwood for her help with this blog and for her support for the Faculty over the past six years.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

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