Social enterprise Franklin Women has been awarded a 2-year grant from NSW Health to support its growth and develop its community of women working in health and medical research.
The grant was announced on Thursday by Franklin Women, who said it will use the funding boost from the grant to build its team and systems to ensure sustainable growth and ongoing impact in the sector.
Founder of Franklin Women Dr Melina Georgousakis has a background as a researcher, and explained she started the organisation back in 2014 when she witnessed the ongoing loss of many highly-skilled women in the research workforce.
“I wanted to create an organisation that connects, invests in, and advocates for women pursuing careers across healthcare, and health and medical research, to retain their expertise in the sector,” Dr Georgousakis said.
“I am so proud of what we have achieved since then and I am grateful to the women, allies and organisations who have seen the value of our work and supported us to reach this next phase of our growth.”
One of the key offerings at Franklin Women is a cross-organisation mentoring program that has supported the careers of over 200 mid-career women to date, as well as developed the skills of over 200 mentors.
For women in health and medical research, the mid-career stage is often affected by career stagnation and loss. It’s a problem that leads to fewer women reaching senior level research roles.
Executive Director at the Office for Health and Medical Research, Dr Antonio Penna, said that addressing barriers to women’s participation and career progression is a priority for NSW Health.
“What Franklin Women has been able to achieve to date is extraordinary given it is run by a small team of casual employees and volunteers,” Dr Penna said.
“The funding provided by NSW Health recognises the effectiveness of their initiatives. It is clear Franklin Women are committed to building a strong and innovative health and medical research ecosystem in NSW, by supporting the careers of women through their network,” he says.
Laboratory head at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and genetic counsellor, Associate Professor Jodie Ingles, said participating in the mentoring program helped her make some significant career decisions.
“The community has been invaluable in opening a conversation about gender bias in our field but also supporting women in our various roles. I was fortunate to be part of their mentoring program which gave me the tools and confidence to make some big decisions impacting my career,” she said.
“I’m now in the position to be able to recommend Franklin Women’s initiatives to my own team members and students to support the next generation of women leaders in our sector.”
Feature Image: Founder of Franklin Women, Dr Melina Georgousakis.