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Women in Science

A Photography Collaboration

A discussion of how to slow the rate of attrition of women from scientific careers takes place at an institutional level. A new series from photographer Fanny Beckman invites the viewer to observe women from the Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London at work in a more intimate way.


About the Project

Researchers will often evoke the metaphor of a pipeline to describe how individuals are funnelled through rigid and competitive academic career path. And the pipeline is full of holes. In the UK, 60% of bioscience postgraduates are women whilst only 15% of professors are women. Just 9% of professors in chemistry are women, a drop of from an already underrepresented 35% at undergraduate level. This “leaky pipeline” is a well-documented phenomenon describing the progressive loss of women, particularly those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, from key stages of academic careers. There are important discussions ongoing on how to plug the cracks caused by obscure biases and barriers in academia and increase workplace diversity in the interest of both the underrepresented groups and better scientific research.

The women at the Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine have lent their voices and faces to the discussion as part of the Women in Science photography project with photographer Fanny Beckman. The series depicts the everyday working lives of the women behind the statistics, capturing an interest, joy, and confidence in their work that is often missing from discussions of women in science. The written stories which accompany the photos cover the hardships they have faced in their careers – looming imposter syndrome and workplace discrimination – but more often focus on their successes and highlight the support systems that have made their experiences positive, support systems that should be available to all women.

About the Photographer

Fanny Beckman is a photographer who uses art to raise awareness of social injustice. She has had numerous exhibitions highlighting subjects such as domestic abuse and mental health. She exhibited in the Swedish Parliament in November 2017, at the Brighton Dome in March 2019, and at Gallery Foto Nostrum in Barcelona in October 2019, as one of the winners of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award. 

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