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Women in Science

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Video clip: Irene has never felt gender discrimination at Oxford herself, but she has seen women at other national and international centres experience difficulties due to gender.

During all this time have you ever experienced what you might call gender discrimination?


Have you ever felt you have been disadvantaged because you’re a woman?

Not in my career here in Oxford, and that’s absolutely the case. I really haven’t felt that at all. I’ve felt superbly, I’ve felt extremely well supported, both by men and women, and I think, one of the things that keeps me in Oxford is that it’s an incredibly free environment to work in. In that, you know, if you want to do something or achieve something, or push something or create something, generally you can. And if it’s a good thing, you’ll just get support for it actually, and that is different to what I witnessed, say, you know, in my other experiences or watching maybe some other colleagues in other Centres, in other places, either, you know, nationally or internationally is that there’s, you know, more, more control levels of decision making and people blocking and stopping, whereas here it’s, it’s a lot more liberated, which is odd. People’s I think, perception of Oxford is it’s a very controlled, hierarchical place. But it’s actually an incredibly free and liberating place to work, and that’s what basically keeps me here, and not go to places where I’m sought to go, because I really love operating in that environment. So that said, now I’ve of course witnessed and seen others experience these, you know, gender difficulties, and often it comes again because of, it can either be benign and that’s just sheer blindness to it and that systems are in place.