The importance of women in chemistry - our experiences at Croda
Even with advancements regarding gender equality, this day remains more relevant than ever with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics analyses currently stating, “less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women” (1). This statistic shows although girls and women hold a place within scientific fields, we still need to utilise this day to highlight the importance of gender equality within the industry, ensuring the gender gap is addressed and transformed. Also, the global agreement that both science and gender equivalence are fundamental to achieving sustainable development goals by 2030, demonstrate further that under-representation of women in chemistry is detrimental, and gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions is pivotal to scientific progression (2) (3).
To celebrate our women in chemistry, I’ve spoken with our global Personal Care team to learn about their journey into the science industry, their personal experiences and what they love about being women in science. We need to inspire young women and girls to become the next generation of women in chemistry and increase representation of women in science…
First, let’s meet Hannah Gorman…
“The first thing that really got me intrigued by science was when I’d look at the back of my shampoo bottle and see this long list of ingredients. What are all these things?! Why are they all in there?! How do they all work together to make this thing that cleans my hair?! I really wanted to understand what made up all these items that I used and took for granted every day. This helped to shape my decision to study Chemistry at A-Level and then go on to study it at university. Now that I am in an industry that I love and those ingredients on the back of my shampoo bottle are no longer a mystery, I love trying to intrigue and excite the next generation about science. I regularly visit primary schools to teach science lessons and one of my key aims is to break down those barriers to entering a science-related career from a very early age and help them understand they can be anything they want to be!”
Hannah is one of our many STEM ambassadors here at Croda who visit local schools and show that not all scientists wear lab coats! A ‘scientist’ isn’t always an Einstein look a-like, it is important to break the bias, remove preconceptions and show our younger generations that a career in science can be limitless! With an inquisitive nature that is encouraged inside and outside the classroom, we are already guiding children to be innovative.
And there’s no stopping Hannah! I’ll be joining her as we support the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) in speaking to graduate students about breaking into the chemical industry as a woman, assumptions about the industry as a woman, and being in the industry a woman. Watch this space! To discover more about SCI click here: https://www.soci.org/
“My name is Kumpal Mehta and I am an Applications Team Leader in Beauty Care, based in the US. My journey in science started when I attended an engineering focused high school, and learned the basics of electrical and computer engineering. My mom’s Chemistry background combined with my interest in engineering concepts as a whole inspired me to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. I joined Croda as a Graduate Trainee in 2014 and rotated through Synthesis for PTIC, Process Development and Personal Care Marketing. Upon completion of the program, I began my role in Personal Care R&D. Joining the Personal Care team showed me that I could merge my love for beauty/make-up and science. My favourite part of my role at Croda is utilizing our specialized ingredients to create cosmetic formulations that meet growing consumer demand for clean and sustainable beauty products.”
Kumpal’s combined passion for engineering and chemistry is inspiring for women in STEM and how they can change our world by developing problem-solving skills and building confidence within a male-dominated industry. The dynamic experience Kumpal has gained with Croda shows how our graduate scheme is an excellent opportunity to develop knowledge within several areas of our business and find the path that is right for women in the chemical industry.
To support women’s development, we are rolling our gender-balanced shortlisting recruitment process across Croda with a target of having 80% of shortlists gender balanced by end of 2023 demonstrating our commitment to People Positive smart science in action. Interested in developing your career with Croda? Check out our career pages!
“I am Anele Ntuli and I am an Applications Scientist for Croda's Personal Care business based in South Africa. I graduated with an undergrad degree in Biochemistry and continued to complete a specialist degree in Cosmetic Formulation Science. I have always had a passion for science as well as the beauty industry which I was exposed to through professional modelling from the age of 15. In 2019 I was given the opportunity to merge both my passions into one when I joined Croda as a student. Since then, I have worked on existing and new product development, as well as claims substantiation in hair care. Within my first year, I was able to complete a Customer work request (CWR) which contributed greatly to the sales of Crodafos CES on the African continent.
To expand my knowledge and become a multifaceted member of the team, I completed a Post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration which has empowered me with foundational skills in commercial related fields. As a result, my role in the team expanded to marketing and business development related responsibilities. I intend on studying further to grow and strengthen my knowledge within commerce to prove to myself and others that women in STEM can achieve anything. Working at Croda has given me the space and freedom to grow in ways I never thought I could. I am proud to say I work for a company that truly does improve lives.”
A woman in chemistry has the opportunity to open so many doors within business. Anele has shown the power of her knowledge in the scientific field has helped in achieving so much and giving her the confidence to achieve more. This motivation to keep learning is inspirational to women and girls demonstrating the benefits for personal, and professional growth as an empowered woman in the chemical industry. Although not all women in science have to start with a degree in a scientific field, there are numerous ways into the industry, read about Maggie…
“My name is Maggie Tintignac and I am the Design and Communications Coordinator for Sederma in France. I studied design at the Estienne school in Paris with a specific focus on medical and scientific illustration. I joined Sederma in 2005 and have had the chance since then to utilise my skills in design and it is my pleasure to make science accessible to all. It is exciting to collaborate with our scientific people here at Sederma and to think about how to make high-tech technologies, active ingredient mechanism of action or just skin metabolism easily understandable. I am pleased to actively contribute to the global awareness of Sederma’s innovation and of its employee’s knowledge and hard-work. I am personally involved in recycling, better consuming and biodiversity preservation and I feel proud to be part of a company with strong commitment in being “land, people and climate positive” by 2030. I fully believe that smart science can improve lives!”
Creativity is key in the chemical industry; Maggie’s design skills are crucial to delivering our product innovation to customers. It is important to show girls and young women in science that women have a valuable place both inside and outside the laboratory with science going much further beyond what the stereotypes tell us.
“Science conquered me even in my childhood, when I accompanied my older brother in his PhD studies at the Sirius laboratory, former National Laboratory of Luz Sincroton, in Campinas, in the interior of São Paulo (Brazil). Since then, I sought knowledge in basic science (chemistry) and made my professional path through different areas, but with a common goal: to do science, in a clearer and more honest way, exercising knowledge. I graduated in Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry from the State University of Campinas, and in the same year I entered the master's degree, in the area of biochemistry. Later, I worked at Solvay, in the field of paints and development of rheological modifiers.
After some time, I joined Croda, where since then I have played several roles within the R&D team, working with projects ranging from Synthesis to Home Care through to Water Treatment, Smart Materials, and Personal Care . In parallel, I started the long-awaited doctoral project in the area of molecular modelling, focusing on the development of studies in the area of enzymes that neutralize prions that cause neurological diseases in humans, whose part of the contamination occurs in surgical centres. In the meantime, I also took a specialization course in Project Management, in addition to completing a specific specialization course in cleaning products formulation.
What inspires me the most, every day, is the beauty of discovery and the improvements that we can make, thanks to science. It is a world apart, where we can increasingly perceive the importance of knowledge in our lives.”
The nurturing of Izabella’s passion for science from childhood shows the importance of capturing girls interest in science at such a young age through activities such as STEM outreach but also having more women in the field to inspire their daughters and family members. If you can see it, you can be it. This provides the opportunity for women to be at the forefront of innovative developments, leading the way to improving our smart science to help change lives. At Croda, further development and professional progression in chemistry is encouraged at all stages of careers, and it is never to let to get into science, as shown by Kira Drabble…
“My name is Kira Drabble and I am the Digital Marketing Coordinator for our Personal Care business. I graduated with a degree in Sports Marketing which I studied due to my passion for developing women’s sports as well as my love of sport after 14 years of playing rugby. I joined Croda from graduating in 2017, where I was part of the EMEA Personal Care marketing team working on communications and this is where my spark for the beauty industry and cosmetic science was ignited! I love everything related to trends and our product innovation and as a result in 2021, I completed the SCS Diploma in cosmetic science. This was a huge challenge for me as I hadn’t studied science since I was 16 and didn’t meet the requirements for the course but I think it is important to share my story to demonstrate that it is never too late to pursue a career in science. I love working in personal care at Croda because I love the process of understanding consumer needs and developing technology to be part of some of the world’s biggest beauty brands to help improve lives.”
What an inspirational group of women in chemistry! This International Day of Women and Girls in science help us to celebrate women and girls leading scientific innovation and help to break down the barriers and stereotypes that currently hold women back.
Join the conversation on our social platforms and share your experiences as a woman or girl in chemistry online - let’s inspire our upcoming generation…
Have a look at our careers page for the chance to develop your career working with our inspirational global teams to develop smart science to improve lives.
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/21252030 Agenda for Sustainable Development web.pdf (3)