International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a United Nations initiative aimed at encouraging full and equal participation in sciences for women and girls around the world.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is proud to support Women in Cancer Research (WICR), an AACR membership group aimed at recognizing women’s scientific achievements and fostering their career development and advancement in cancer research. This year, 50 percent of the AACR’s Board of Directors are women, as are 44 percent of the AACR’s members.

Just last week, AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), delivered a talk at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, New Jersey, in which she discussed the vital role of mentors and sponsors in advancing the careers of women in science.

“The contributions of women over time have been pivotal to advances in biomedical science, translational research, patient care, and overall public health,” Foti said. “We need more women in leadership roles in biomedical science and medicine if we are to achieve our dream of making further inroads against the challenging diseases of our time.”

Foti struck a similar tone in 2019 in a talk at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Titled “The Vital Role of Women in Cancer Science: A Matter of Great Urgency for Patients,” Foti’s address provided a fascinating perspective on the longstanding contributions of women in science, along with some recommendations on how scientific organizations can support women’s careers.

“Although women have come a long way in achieving leadership roles in the cancer workforce, their professional advancement and career opportunities have room to grow,” Foti said. “The future successes of women in cancer science and medicine will be ensured provided there is a real commitment to overcome the challenges and the realization that women in oncology can and will leave an indelible mark on the field.” Read more about Dr. Foti’s Moffitt speech here.

The previous year, Foti, Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, FAACR, and Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR, shared highlights of their careers in cancer research. When Cancer Research Catalyst interviewed them in 2018, Jaffee was the AACR’s President-Elect, going on to serve as President for the 2018-2019 term. Mardis was serving as program chair of the AACR Annual Meeting 2018, and she is currently President of the AACR. These towering figures in cancer science shared personal stories of inspiration and encouraged young women to seek out mentors to help guide their career paths. For more on how Foti, Mardis, and Jaffee built their careers in science, see the full post. For more on Women in Cancer Research, see this video.