To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we’re shining a light on the amazing contributions women in archaeology make to the sciences.

Seven women share their experiences of what it is like to work in the sciences in the hope they will inspire others to join their fields.

Established by the United Nations, International Day of Women and Girls in Science reminds us all to challenge the biases and stereotypes in the field and to promote full and equal access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects for women and girls. 

Explore their stories below. 

Inés López-Dóriga, Senior Environmental Archaeologist:

Ines using a microscope to inspect environmental remains Ines inspecting environmental remains back in the lab

What is most rewarding about your career? 

What I find most rewarding about my career is having explored different options to eventually discover the niche position that keeps me motivated and intellectually engaged, being able to make interesting discoveries as part of my daily work.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in science?   

Persist in your interest to pursue it a scientific career, regardless of the difficulties that you will encounter, it is worth it for your personal growth! Be assertive to ensure a healthy like/work balance and the recognition of your achievements.

Why do we need more women/girls in science?  

All aspects of science (such as research priorities, practice and outcomes) are socio-culturally biased. We need more women/girls in science, and particularly from minority backgrounds, to bring different perspectives into science to enrich it and increase its social-cultural relevance.

Lowri Roberts, Marine Archaeologist:

Picture of Lowri Roberts in a diving suit

What is most rewarding about your career?

Being a STEM ambassador which means I am able to give purpose to what I do by going to schools and events to deliver sessions explaining the importance of protecting our underwater cultural heritage.

Who inspired you to pursue a career in science?

My Bournemouth University tutor, Dave Parham. I had wanted to pursue marine archaeology since I was 17 but he allowed me to conduct my first survey on one of my favourite wrecks, Resurgam and I fell in love.

What could be done to improve gender equality in STEM disciplines?

Having more female managers in the sector would improve gender equality in STEM disciplines as they would better understand that women sometimes have additional challenges to overcome whilst out in the field.


Andrea Hamel, Coastal & Marine Project Manager:

What is most rewarding about your career?

The most rewarding part of my career is being involved in new discoveries – such as the Dungeness Quarry wreck that was recently found in Kent. No one was expecting an Elizabethan shipwreck to turn up in a terrestrial quarry, so it was very exciting!

Andrea recording a timber from the Dungeness Quarry wreck

Who inspired you to pursue a career in science?

I was inspired to become a marine archaeologist by James Delgado. I took his course in maritime archaeology at uni, and it was brilliant! I later had the opportunity to work with him at the Vancouver Maritime Museum – he was a great mentor and he told the most fascinating stories about his work.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in science?   

For anyone considering a career in marine archaeology, I’d recommend volunteering so you can learn practical, hands-on skills, whether with a museum handling finds in the archives, or with an organisation such as the Nautical Archaeology Society where you can survey underwater and intertidal shipwreck sites. Volunteering is a great way to find out more about an area you’re interested in working and also build up your CV.

Picture of Andrea Hamel underwater in a diving suit Andrea Hamel on a boat out at sea

Jasmine Porter, Finds Assistant Supervisor:

What is most rewarding about your career?

Archaeology is a rewarding career as you get to uncover the past. Some of the things we discover have not been seen for thousands of years and the last person to see them would have been whoever deposited them. Nothing beats the feeling of finding an object, for example a fibular brooch, and knowing it was worn by a Roman all those years ago. The things we find tell us so much about the people of the past and sometimes the things we find as archaeologist can change history! We then get to have the chance to teach others about what we find and spread our passion for heritage and history during community events and open days. It's rewarding to see other people engage in the past.

Exciting discoveries aside, the other rewarding part of the job is meeting all the wonderful people you get to work with. Archaeologists come from all walks of life and they become your family. And with all the different types of archaeological jobs available you are constantly learning new skills from each other.

Picture of Jasmine at an engagement event

What’s the best advice you were given when you started your career?   

The best advice I got was to never give up and always say yes to opportunities, you never know what could happen! I never thought I would be working within the research department as a Finds Assistant when I first started out as a field archaeologist and look at me now!

The other advice I got was “If in doubt, whack it out!”. Essentially trust your gut on what you are doing, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t! And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Jasmine in high-vis and a hard hat on site

Jessica Irwin, Finds & Archives Senior Project Officer:

Picture of Jessica Irwin at an engagement event

What is most rewarding about your career?  

Combining my love for history with science and technology, and being able to share that passion with others. Directly as a STEM ambassador, and through my contribution to the archaeological process via the creation and deposition of stable and accessible archives.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in science?   

If you can find a career which combines the things you enjoy most, you’ll never look back! Try to keep an open mind about the future and embrace all opportunities for learning and development.

What progress have you seen on gender equality since you have been working? 

There are more women across the archaeological sector, including in senior management roles. The pay gap has decreased, and the general awareness of the dangers of unconscious bias has increased. Company policies are also increasingly geared towards equity and inclusion. 


Joanne Instone-Brewer, Terrestrial Geophysics Assistant Supervisor:

Picture of Joanne at an engagement event

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in science?  

Science is a wonderfully multi-faceted discipline that requires a huge range of knowledge and expertise. If you can work with the world creatively, empathetically, resourcefully and collaboratively then the career possibilities are endless. 

What could be done to improve gender equality in STEM disciplines? 

Humans have an amazing ability to collect skills from all walks of life that can cross over into STEM disciplines, even where it is least expected. Nobody should be made to feel like their life experience from any sort of gendered role can’t play a vital part in their work.

Fiona Pink, Senior Research and Reports Officer:

Fiona writing on a piece of paper

What is most rewarding about your career?  

The most rewarding part of my career is being able to contribute to our understanding of past societies and environments, and sharing this information with others through reports, publications and presentations.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in science?   

A career in archaeology and the historic environment can be interesting and rewarding and so my suggestion would be to consider and explore some of the many different roles and science-based specialisms within this profession.