Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

A new female president

We celebrate the IBMS presidency being passed from woman to woman for the first time.

A new female president-passing presidency untitled

Last month Joanna Andrew became the 36th President in the IBMS’ history – and the fourth female president since the inception of the Institute. At her inauguration on 1 February, there was a historical moment when Past President Debra Padgett presented the official presidential chain to Joanna.

It was the first time that the chain (and the role of President) had been passed from one woman to another.

The moment came shortly after Jocelyn Germain, the first ever female President of the IBMS, inaugurated in 1997, joined the President and Past President behind the lectern to congratulate them on the occasion.

The second female President in the IBMS’ history is Alison Geddis, who took up the role in 2018.

In her inauguration speech Joanna said: “Thank you, Debra, your achievements over the last two years have been phenomenal and your passion and determination second to none. I must admit that it is a daunting prospect to follow in your footsteps, but you are such an inspiration.”

“I am excited to help achieve our vision of being recognised as the leading body of biomedical science”

She continued: “I am immensely proud to have been elected by the council members to become President. I am excited to ensure the continued success of the Institute and to help achieve our vision of being recognised as the leading body of biomedical science.”

The inauguration came in the run up to International Women’s Day, which takes place on 8 March and is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”.

In 2022, the Institute marked the anniversary of 100 years of having women members in the IBMS.

The centenary featured a campaign celebrating the contributions female members have made to the IBMS, which has a female membership of 67%.

In the same year, the IBMS launched an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion working group with National Council Member Tahmina Hussain as Chair, bringing together IBMS members from across the UK who are passionate about promoting the diversity of IBMS membership.

Creating an inclusive environment where every member feels welcome is a central focus for the IBMS and the passing of the role of President from one woman to another is testament to this.

Addressing those gathered at the IBMS inauguration, Debra said: “Thank you for gathering here today to reflect on the journey we have taken together over the past two years and as I head into my year as Past President, I look forward to a very bright future for the Institute with Joanna taking up her presidency.

“This wonderful role is bigger than the individual holding the chain of office, it transcends the person and all we can ever hope as President is that we leave it incrementally further forward than we find it and that you hand the baton on to someone who you know is equally as committed and passionate as you are. In Joanna I have that assurance.”  

Related Articles