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International Women's Day 2019

International Women's Day is on Friday 8 March. This annual event celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Last year, we marked this day by highlighting some brilliant female immunologists with nominations of inspirational #WomenInImmunology. This year, we’d like to show how far we’ve come in creating a fair and equal working environment - but we also recognise that there’s a long way to go to achieve gender and diversity balance in immunology.

We want to emphasize the need to continue our collective efforts and commit to making immunology accessible to all by making the following pledge:

"The British Society for Immunology will continue to work towards gender balance by taking action to become sector-leading in diversity and inclusion across all our activities including our annual Congress."

We'd like to invite anyone enthusiastic about equal opportunities in immunology to contribute and provide a pledge of their own. You can pledge about any aspect you feel poses a barrier to diversity and inclusion and help us make this day about year-round collaboration.

How to get involved

You can send us your suggestions to or via social media on our TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Instagram accounts. When posting on social media, please use the hashtags #ImmunologyforALL and #IWD2019 and tag @britsocimm on Twitter.


To launch the project, some of our Trustees and members have put forward their own pledges:

Professor Arne Akbar, BSI President and Professor at University College London
I will promote equal opportunities in immunology by ensuring that we have equal gender representation in all our committees and sub committees and also when selecting chairpersons and speakers for our annual Congress and regional and affinity group meetings.

Professor Danny Altmann, Editor-in-Chief of Immunology and Professor at Imperial College London
I will promote equal opportunities in immunology by calling out and resisting the examples I see around me of conscious or unconscious bias that lead to a non-level playing-field (and I’ll even be open and accepting if people call out any of my actions). At the end of it all, we deny ourselves the chance to engage the best people and make the most progress unless we’re really doing our utmost to promote ALL talent in our workplace​.

Dr Calum Bain, BSI Early Career Trustee and Fellow at University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research
I will contribute to the visibility of female role models in immunology by ensuring gender balance at all our scientific meetings and public engagement activities.

Dr Alice Burton, BSI Early Career Representative and Research Fellow at University College London
As Digital Communications Officer of the London Immunology Group, I will increase visibility of female role models in immunology by highlighting the successes of women scientists. I will promote equal opportunities in immunology by ensuring all careers stages and genders have a voice within the BSI forum and regional groups.

Helen Collins, BSI Education Secretary and Reader in Immunology and Education at King's College London
I pledge to make immunology accessible to all by challenging all stereotypes and unconscious bias, particularly among younger people starting on their immunology careers.

Dr Edith M Hessel, BSI Co-opted Trustee and Vice President and Medicine Development Leader at GSK​
I want to enhance the confidence and voices of female scientists in Immunology through active mentoring and support of my female colleagues in my direct environment and in the wider field of Immunology.

Mr Paul Harding, BSI Co-opted Trustee
To always encourage, support, coach and mentor all to progress to their maximum potential regardless of gender, race, sexuality or background.

Fane Mensah, BSI PhD Representative and PhD Candidate at University College London
I will promote equal opportunities in immunology by driving gender diversity as a man and calling out inappropriate comments and/or behavior. I think that there is a big responsibility for men in changing behavior and the need to involve men more in gender diversity, especially at a senior level.

Professor Leonie Taams, Editor-in-Chief of Clinical and Experimental Immunology and Professor at King's College London
I will continue to strive for diversity and gender balance in all my activities including those relating to Clinical and Experimental Immunology.



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