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March 2024

Since the pioneering moment in 1868 when nine women were admitted to the University of London, marking a significant milestone in British women's access to higher education, we've journeyed far. That modest yet pivotal event opened doors not just for those nine women, but for countless others who followed in their footsteps.

Today, as we reflect on our progress and continue our dedication to gender equality in academia, both in general and specifically in scientific research, we're proud to highlight the strides we've made in fostering women's participation and leadership in higher education and research.

As we celebrate these achievements, we recognise that there's still work to be done. We remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering gender equality in STEM and environmental fields, especially in areas of ageing and clean growth, providing support, resources, and opportunities for women to pursue their passions and contribute meaningfully to research and innovation.

Together, let's continue to build a future where every individual, regardless of gender, has equal access to education, opportunities, and recognition in the academic sphere.

British Council Israel team

Promoting Gender Equality in Science

At the British Council Israel, our dedication to advancing gender equality in the sciences permeates through all our initiatives.

In our UK-IL bilateral science programs, we've witnessed a notable surge in women's involvement. Our current programs are spearheaded and managed entirely by women teams. Among our grantees, women researchers occupy leadership roles, constituting a minimum of 35% of the cohort. This stands as a testament to our persistent endeavors to amplify women's contributions within senior academic circles.

'You Can't Be What You Can't See': Stories of Our Incredible Women Researchers

Within our BIRAX and Wohl Clean Growth programmes:

Through the grants and fellowships extended by the Wohl Clean Growth Alliance, women researchers continue to maintain a substantial presence, accounting for approximately 35% of the cohort. This year, we are particularly proud to announce a majority of women fellows, highlighting the remarkable talent and commitment of women in propelling forward impactful research agendas.

Under the BIRAX umbrella, our focus on advancing research concerning ageing has led to a remarkable presence of British and Israeli women researchers, comprising 50% of the research cohort. This achievement underscores the significance of inclusive research environments conducive to the flourishing of women's talents. Moreover, we meticulously track data on gender equality and women's representation within lab teams, integrating gender equality criteria into our funding initiatives to foster the participation of women students in laboratories.

Dr. Orr Karassin's Global Impact

Dr. Orr Karassin, an esteemed scholar renowned for her expertise in environmental policy and her role as Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Research Centre at the Open University, Israel, has been a notable presence in the realm of environmental advocacy and academia.

In 2022, Dr. Orr Karassin was chosen as a delegate representing Israeli environmental professors in the esteemed British Council’s Wohl Clean Growth Alliance delegation to the UK. This opportunity not only provided her with a platform to exchange insights and collaborate with peers but also contributed to a broader discourse on environmental sustainability.

Expanding on her involvement in the delegation, Dr. Karassin's commitment to advancing sustainable practices was further evident in 2023. Alongside Prof. Manoj Dora from Anglia Ruskin University, she received a grant from the programme. Together, they embarked on a joint research project aimed at enhancing sustainable food economies in both Israel and the UK.

Dr. Karassin's research spans critical areas such as the circular economy, climate adaptation, and corporate sustainability. Beyond academia, her impact extends into environmental advocacy, where she has been a driving force for over 25 years. Notably, she played a pivotal role in founding Israel's Green Student Movement and has held leadership positions on national and international Environmental Committees.

This month, we commend Proffesor Karassin for her invaluable contributions to environmental sustainability. Her involvement in international delegations and collaborative research endeavors underscores her dedication to fostering dialogue and driving positive change in the global environmental landscape. Moreover, her achievements serve as an inspiration to young women researchers, encouraging them to follow in her footsteps and make meaningful contributions to the field.

Tackling Bone Fragility in Diabetes

Meet Prof. Lynne Cox from the Department of Biochemistry at Oxford University and Prof. Rivka Dresner Pollack, Head of the Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes at Hadassah Medical Center. In 2019, they were awarded a grant through BIRAX Ageing to fund their joint research on age-related bone fragility in type 1 diabetes. These two incredible women joined their expertise, with Lynne specializing in cell ageing and Rivka in bone fragility and diabetes. Together, they aim to uncover why people with type 1 diabetes often experience fragile bones.

Their hope is that in the future, they will find a way to stop bone fragility at its root cause, potentially preventing problems from emerging early on. This research could have significant implications for addressing a medical issue that disproportionately affects women, as they are more likely to suffer from bone fragility than men.

This collaboration marks an important milestone in the field of research, highlighting the critical role of interdisciplinary partnerships in addressing complex health issues.

Click here to watch Prof. Cox and Prof. Dresner Pollack as they speak about their partnership.

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