A dementia researcher in the lab

Women in dementia research: How Alzheimer’s Society is supporting researchers

The number of women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is beginning to increase and the same is true in the field of dementia research. However, there’s still a long way to go before they are equally represented.

Discussions with our researchers told us that lack of work-life balance and support from research institutes are major factors contributing to women leaving research.

Crucially, we are one of the few charitable funders who provide maternity, paternity, adoption, and sick pay and leave for our PhD students as well as providing guidance and support for more senior researchers.

Facts and figures

  • There are around 900,000 women in STEM occupations, according to the UK labour force survey for 2018 analysed by WISE records
  • This only makes up 22 per cent of the total STEM workforce 
  • Only 13 per cent of management roles in the STEM workforce are held by women

We are always striving to do more. At Alzheimer's Society, we believe that research funding organisations have a key role to play in keeping excellent female researchers in the field.

We are continuously evaluating our research funding schemes to remove any gender-based bias.

We know the majority of women with STEM qualifications do not have a career in the field, unlike their male counterparts. This means that the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are haemorrhaging talent.

Recruiting researchers 

At Alzheimer’s Society we are working hard to attract excellent researchers like you to the dementia field and to keep them there. 

We have done this through taking part in establishing the UK Dementia Research Institute, a unique undertaking of multi-organisation collaboration. The institute is bringing together over 800 researchers to state-of-the-art facilities with the common goal of beating dementia.

We have nurtured the careers of new researchers through the success of our eight doctoral training centres. We continue to reward and support our excellent researchers through our Dementia Research Leaders programme. 

But we know more can always be done.

We want to hear from you

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on how Alzheimer’s Society could better support gender balance in research, post a comment or email us directly.

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This article was originally published in May 2019 and most recently updated in October 2021.