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To mark International Women's Day, we showcase some of the current projects run by women at the Museum.
On 8 March every year, International Women’s Day recognises the economic, political and social achievement of women, and supports their advancement.
This year's theme is 'Equality for women is progress for all'.
Women play a crucial role in the operation of the Museum, both front of house and behind the scenes. Around 160 women scientists currently work as curators and researchers across life and earth sciences disciplines, many of whom spend time in the field.
Much of their work impacts on universal efforts to improve world health and safety, biodiversity and climate change research, and our understanding of the planet.
Women scientists include:
Traditionally in science, there is a gender bias towards men, but one field that has seen a notable increase of interest from women is forensic anthropology.
Museum forensic anthropologist Heather Bonney and forensic entomologist Amoret Whitaker, both of whom were recently awarded their doctorate, work on in-house projects, such as the digitisation of human remains kept at the Museum, but also work on behalf of the Museum as consultants to the police.
Dr Bonney is often called in by police forces when human remains are found unexpectedly – perhaps dug up on a building site or in a garden – or sometimes to the scene of a mass disaster.
Her main role is identification - affirming the remains are human, and then building a biological profile such as sex, age and ancestry based on features of the bones. Dr Whitaker uses insect evidence to estimate the minimum time since death.
'I don't know if this increase in women in forensics means that women are less squeamish than men,' Dr Bonney said. 'But the increase in university courses and the number of women entering the field do seem to have coincided with the popularity of TV shows such as Bones, CSI and NCIS, all of which have female scientists in leading roles.'