11th February is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) is celebrating the important role mentors have to play in developing the careers of women and girls in science.

News article 13 Feb 2023

LSTM Lecturer in the Vector Biology Department, Jennifer Lord, has worked with The Girls’ Network to mentor young women and girls who are interested in moving into a career in science. She says:

“Mentoring is an invaluable way of making science and careers in science more accessible to a broader range of girls and women. Finding a good set of mentors has been essential in each step of my career from undergraduate, through to being a research group leader. While these haven’t always been female, having access to female mentors and role models who have experienced similar hurdles to me during their careers has been important. Seeing other women have both a successful independent research career and raise children helped me realise early on that that was a realistic, albeit sometimes difficult, possibility for me. Having mentors has helped me build my confidence and has been critical to navigating through each career stage.

 As a mentor in the Girls’ Network, I’m continually learning about what makes a good mentor, and here having tangible goals and a set timeline can really make a difference. A mentor can help in terms of giving tips for interview techniques or how to deal with self-doubt and impostor syndrome. There is a technique to crafting job applications and CVs but the skill can be greatly improved with the help of a mentor who knows what an employer is looking for. Mentors can also be essential at ‘crisis’ points in careers, where big decisions have to be made - should I stay in academia, should I go? They can be a great sounding board, someone who can provide a perspective from their own experience.”

 The Girls’ Network is a charity in Liverpool, which aims to inspire and empower young women via 1-2-1 mentoring, with a professional woman. If you are interested you can sign-up to a mentor training course, pay £10 for your DBS check, and attend a mentee matching session to mentor once a month for 10 months. New mentors are taken on between Spring and Autumn. If you are interested in getting involved, please email: Become a mentor | The Girls' Network (thegirlsnetwork.org.uk)