01 Feb 2023

Nicole Williams and Helen Whitehead: Women changing the world of science

Nicole Williams and Helen Whitehead: Women changing the world of science


Saturday 11 February 2023 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day promotes the full and equal access and participation of females in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics. This year, the day is focused on the theme 'Bringing everyone forward for sustainable and equitable development', looking at the role of women and girls in science in relation to the UN's SDGs. Two topics important to higher education institutions across the world at the moment. How do we encourage more girls and young women to be interested in STEMM programmes? Are there any good practices we can share? And what kind of progress would we like to see made before we reach 2024?

In this podcast episode, we talk to Nicole Williams, Director of Outreach at 500 Women Scientists, and Helen Whitehead, Lecturer in Environment and Sustainability at the University of Salford, UK. Both women scientists who are keen to encourage more girls to become scientists, but also to improve the position of women within the world of STEMM.

About Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams is a marine scientist, social justice advocate, and DEIJ expert. She received her Master’s of Science degree in Marine Science in 2014 at Hawaii Pacific University. Nicole worked in academia for five years before transitioning to the nonprofit sector. In 2018, she managed the Brown University Science Center where she helped restructure and implement peer mentoring and tutoring programs for underrepresented STEM students. Nicole is currently the Co-Executive Director at 500 Women Scientists, a global non-profit organization with a mission to make science more open, inclusive, and accessible by fighting racism, the patriarchy, and oppressive societal norms. She is responsible for securing strategic partnerships for the organization while also managing the Gage platform, the world’s largest free directory of women and gender diverse individuals in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine.

About Helen Whitehead

Helen Whitehead is a Lecturer in Environment and Sustainability at the University of Salford, UK. She graduated from the University of Salford with a First Class honours degree in Wildlife and Practical Conservation in 2018. Following her undergraduate degree, she started a PhD at the University of Salford, studying the use of ecoacoustics to investigate avian biodiversity within the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. Her areas of research include Ecoacoustics, Biodiversity Monitoring, Ornithology, Environment, and Ecosystems. Helen is currently a coordinator for the 500 Women Scientists pod in Manchester, where the aim is to make science open, inclusive and accessible.

Additional resources

For further insights into the topics touched on in this episode, the following resources may be of interest:

→ 500 Women Scientists website

→ EAIE podcast with Sarah Lamaison: Science: a woman's world

→ Expanding the roles of women in STEM