By: Darrell Ezell, PhD, Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Throughout the month of March, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will celebrate National Women’s History Month by raising awareness of gender inclusion, by honoring trailblazing women who inspire, empower, and educate, and by hosting several virtual events on women’s health and genetic testing.
In 1980, U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8th National Women’s History Week. Over the next five years, Congress passed several joint resolutions designing a week in March to be “Women’s History Week.” Through the advocacy of the National Women’s History Project, Congress expanded Women’s History Week into National Women’s History Month in 1987. On March 8th, HudsonAlpha will also recognize International Women’s Day (#IWD2021), a global day of awareness to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is #ChoosetoChallenge, as a challenged world is an alert world.
HudsonAlpha acknowledges that diversity includes women and the importance of increasing opportunities that lead to gender parity and inclusion within the organization. We recognize that “diversity of the biomedical workforce is essential to the scientific enterprise.” Advancing women leaders in the sciences requires identifying barriers to entry and ensuring equitable opportunities to foster growth and advancement. Shaping our direction on these very important matters will include supporting programs that introduce young women to the STEM fields early and working to establish equitable opportunities for women in the workplace.
This month, we will celebrate National Women’s History Month with several learning opportunities while virtually Honoring Trailblazing Women Who Inspire, Empower, and Educate. Members of HudsonAlpha’s Diversity Taskforce have identified twelve trailblazers who broke barriers and worked towards advancing educational and professional opportunities for women. Our 2021 honorees are:
- Patricia Bath
- Elizabeth Blackburn
- Asima Chatterjee
- Marie Curie
- Jennifer Doudna
- Ruby Hirose
- Mary Jackson
- Mary-Claire King
- Barbara McClintock
- Olga D. Gonzalez-Sanabria
- Chien-Shiung Wu
- Malala Yousafzai
As an educational resource, we have identified several books about inspiring women and their journey. These books highlight the importance of women’s empowerment and the critical need for gender parity in society and equity in the workplace.
In raising awareness about women’s health and genetic testing, HudsonAlpha’s Information is Power program, led by Dr. Sara Cooper will collaborate with the Greater Huntsville Chapter of The Links, Inc. to discuss key health issues impacting women as breast and ovarian cancer and the benefits of genetic testing. This two-part virtual discussion is scheduled for March 16th and March 23rd at 6:30p.m. via Zoom. Registration information coming soon.