We all stand to benefit from bringing more women into the fold.
“When you have diversity on teams you are more likely to have creative, innovative solutions,” Dr. Elmore said. Diversity comes in many forms, she explained, including diversity of expertise, diversity of culture and work styles, and of course, diversity of gender.
Encouraging more women to enter the cancer research field—and retaining them once they get there—requires a multi-faceted approach that actively works to plug the leaky pipeline. And support is coming from various angles. At the American Cancer Society, for example, their ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer campaign is seeking to funnel grant money to women in cancer research and minimize the gaps in funding that serve as barriers to many female researchers. They’re also enlisting female healthcare leaders as ambassadors in this work.
“The fight against cancer is something that is near and dear to my heart – both professionally and personally,” said Tiffany Olson, president of Cardinal Health’s Nuclear & Precision Health Solutions business division. “So I’m really proud to serve as a ResearcHERS ambassador, knowing that this work supports critical research that could find our next big breakthrough.”
There's a ripple effect to providing funding for female-led cancer research, Dr. Elmore said. While it's certainly about dollars and cents, it's also about driving more awareness to the great work that women are doing in the field and providing the boost they need to get published, get tenured, and go on to lead fruitful careers.
Academic institutions have a role to play as well, heralding their female leaders and highlighting the possibilities that are available to all. There is also a need for more women on research panels, as well as funding and policies that support women outside of their careers.
“Across organizations, we know that increased diversity leads to more innovation,” Olson added. “We’ve championed that message at Cardinal Health and support the healthcare field in finding more ways to help women succeed and advance their careers.”