UCL Division of Biosciences


Departmental EDI Seminar - Dr Isabel Torres

17 April 2024, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Title: 'Does parenthood impact career progression in STEMM? Myths, challenges and solutions'

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Amy Godfrey


G46, H 0 Schild Pharmacology Lecture Theatre
Medical Sciences and Anatomy

Academic Host: Teresa Niccoli
Abstract: More women than ever before are pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), yet they remain vastly underrepresented in this sector, particularly in leadership positions. A recent study conducted in the US shows that 43% of mothers and 15% of fathers leave full-time STEM employment within three years of having children, and research by Mothers in Science further revealed that these alarming trends are global. Dr Isabel Torres will discuss the invisible barriers that hinder the career advancement of caregivers, and especially mothers, and explain why caregiving should be at the center of discussions and interventions to close the gender gap in STEM. She will show data from a pre-pandemic global survey with 9,000 respondents (mothers, fathers and non-parents) in over 128 countries conducted by Mothers in Science to study the impact of parenthood on career progression in STEMM (STEM + medicine). These findings reveal that caregivers face multiple structural barriers and widespread stigma in the STEMM sector, with significant penalties on their career advancement and academic success, and mothers are disproportionately affected. 

About the Speaker

Dr Isabel Torres

CEO at Mothers in Science

Isabel is co-founder and CEO of Mothers in Science. After completing a PhD degree in genetics at the University of Cambridge and a postdoc at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the UK, she moved to France where she worked for a number of years as a science editor and consultant. Isabel is also an experienced science writer and communicator. Among other projects, she founded Microscopes4Schools and Pretty Smart Science, a platform that combines science and art to promote scientific literacy and increase the visibility of women in science. She is passionate about promoting women in STEMM and advocating for gender equality and social justice. She is a mother of four children.

More about Dr Isabel Torres