From education to employment

A celebration of women in Science

Pamela Bryer, Patent attorney, Marks & Clerk LLP

As we mark the United Nations’ International #WomeninScienceDay today (Feb 11) Pamela Bryer, a patent attorney with IP firm Marks & Clerk, aims to encourage more women to consider a career in science.

Pamela graduated from the University of St Andrews with an honours degree in Physics with Photonics and worked as a research scientist before joining the IP firm where she prepares, files and prosecutes mechanical, electronic and software patent applications in the UK and internationally:

I love science.  From the core subjects of biology, chemistry and physics to the more applied fields of engineering and computer science, there are so many fascinating things to discover about how the world (and everything in it) works – what’s not to love?

Science and technology touches our lives in so many positive ways.  Just imagine what our lives would be like without lighting and electricity; without refrigerators and freezers to keep our food fresh; without bicycles, cars, buses or trains to help us get around; without access to entertainment and information through our smartphones, and computers; and without vital products that are helping us all get our lives on track such as cleaning products, medicines and vaccines. 

Behind all of these amazing developments are scores of people, building on the work of those that came before them.  But what do all these people have in common? Is it an insatiable desire to experiment and to try different things? Is it the lure of excitement of discovering something new?  It is a passion to create, combine or adapt something to make it better or even smarter?  Is it an instinctive desire to solve problems, to overcome difficulties or to make improvements?

Whatever the driving force is, it is clear that it is not limited to any one particular gender. Both men and women are clearly very capable of contributing and excelling in the fields of science and technology.  However, it still appears that, at least in some areas, females are less likely than men to opt to study for scientific or technical qualifications.  This tends to result in less female candidates applying for technical roles, which results in a gender imbalance in many organisations. Beyond investing in introducing more girls and women to the STEM fields, there should be a considered attempt at getting them to take leadership positions in order to inspire and get more women into this crucial area. 

With this in mind, I want to raise awareness of the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science in the hope of encouraging more females to pursue fascinating careers in science.

Careers like that of some of the most influential women in British science history – chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, who was nominated more than once for the Nobel Prize and was awarded it in 1964 for her work on penicillin and vitamin B12; pioneering physician and political campaigner Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first Englishwoman to qualify as a doctor; first female member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers Hertha Ayrton; paleontologist Mary Anning; astronomer Mary Somerville and dietician Elsie Widdowson to name but a few.

So what do all of these people have in common? They are all women with a passion for science who have made a real impact.

As a patent attorney for Marks & Clerk I work alongside a host of women (and men) who adore science and who work together with our clients to foster innovation and protect technological advancements. In fact the firm employs 12per cent more women in senior, fee earning roles than are graduating with degrees in STEM subjects* –  a number we actively continue to increase as we hope that more females will be inspired to join our scientific community.

Pamela Bryer, Patent attorney, Marks & Clerk LLP

*Marks & Clerk LLP 2019 Gender Pay Gap report



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