Inspiring women and girls: Forging forward to close the STEM gap


Discover the curiosity, encouragement and care that’s fueling the ambition to close the gap - from women who are forging the path forward themselves. 

Scientist preparing microscope slides

This International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we’re reminded that only 35% of all students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields of study are women.1 Globally, strong gendered stereotypes continue to prevail in scientific careers—creating the gender gap in STEM. Clearly, there is more progress to be made to achieve equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

To keep the momentum moving forward, we spoke with some of our colleagues about their inspiration, challenges and desires to accelerate a better future in the field. We found three common ingredients to their success: curiosity, learning, and empowerment.



Victoria Spadaro Grant headshot for IDWGS

Victoria Sparado-Grant, President Innovation & Commercial Development

“I came to food science by chance. My first love was mathematics. My second love was chemistry, and my third love was physics…and I really love cooking. My mother told me, “Why don’t you try a career in food engineering?” and that is how I got started in food engineering and food science.

To anyone contemplating a career in food science: “Are you in love with food? And with cooking?” It must be a love affair as well, because at the end of the day—it is all about science. There is that tremendous culinary and gastronomy factor, that has an aura of mystery, that you should love to be an amazing food scientist. The people who work here at Tate & Lyle, that work in the technical applications areas, all love food and they all love what they do.”


Stephanie Dupuy headshot for IDWGS

Stephanie Dupuy, Technical Services Director Europe

“My scientific curiosity started thanks to my maternal grandfather, who was a material engineer. I loved spending hours with him building, assembling, playing games where he explained to me the importance of being rigorous and methodological to understand what one is doing, to arrive at the desired result, and then to be able to redo or even improve the result.

Science is a driver for innovation and growth in the world: it shapes minds, it can intellectually nourish people throughout their lives, and it challenges assumptions. Everyone accessing and participating in science can transform themselves to be a unique person and be able to make a living from it as they will help communities and companies to innovate and grow. It can be the start of autonomy and freedom, allowing the discovery of exciting jobs all over the world.”




Marietta Sayegh headshot for IDWGS

Marietta Sayegh, Nutrition Scientist Europe, Middle East and Africa

“It is important to promote gender equality and break down stereotypes about who a scientist is and what they look like. Full access and participation in science for women and girls can play an important role in ensuring diversity in research and bringing in fresh perspectives. We must empower young girls and women to participate in STEM fields through learning for scientific and technological career paths. The world needs science, and science needs women and girls.”


Renata Cassar for IDWGS 2023

Renata Cassar, Head of Nutrition Latin America

I have been working in the industry for several years now, both in food and ingredient manufacturers. At the beginning of my career, people didn't really understand the role of a nutrition scientist in the industry. It took me a lot of effort to ‘educate’ people at that point in time so they could understand the value of nutrition science, especially to the food industry. Now, knowledge about nutrition is becoming well known to the general public and that expertise is essential for companies committed to human nutrition, health and well-being.”


Amanda Sia for IDWGS 2023

Amanda Sia, Senior Scientist

“I am forever grateful to one of the managers that I had early on in my career. He often encouraged me to speak up even when I felt like I wasn’t sure if my contribution mattered. He also proactively connected me with many other scientists within the company, some of which became mentors that I could learn from and who would also advocate for me.”




Melissa Stock for IDWGS 2023

Melissa Stock, ISIT Business Partner, Technology Adoption

“The more inclusive we can make the field of technology; the more interested women and girls will be and the more diverse participation we will see. Studies have shown it is vital to have women be involved at all layers of the organization. In our department at Tate & Lyle, we have strong women on our IT Leadership team who model by example and are active allies for everyone in our department. Not only are they successful in what they do, but they also look for opportunities to be an ally to help develop the people who work with them.”


Kavita Karnik for IDWGS 2023

Kavita Karnik, Global Head of Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs

“I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged me to study and participate in whatever career options I chose, including science! However, throughout my early career the biggest challenge has been the bias, rather than actual discrimination. I’ve always believed in letting my work do the ‘talking’ and have always aspired to be a better ‘scientist’, rather than a ‘woman scientist’. Throughout my career, I have been mentored, guided and helped by individuals who saw me as a scientist first and a woman later. Being given access to opportunities equally, being assessed equally and being rewarded equally, is the biggest removal of barrier of bias!”


Kat Peszynska-Drews for IDWGS 2023

Kat Peszynska-Drews, Senior Financial Controls Analyst and SAP Application Support

For ages, the roles of women were minimised, marginalised, and kept away from the ‘steering wheel’. It’s not a natural way of things, as we’re as capable of anything we put our mind to. Seeing that there are still many people who need convincing, I feel it is our duty to fight for women who are still fighting this fight by setting an example ourselves and being successful in what we do.


From the lab to the kitchen, brilliance and creativity is in our DNA. So, here’s to the relentless innovators and continuously curious thinkers who’ve come together as a force for good. We’re honoured to celebrate your contributions and uncompromising commitment to make the world a more equitable place for women and girls in STEM.

Did you know?

Progressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is one of the ways we’re Building Thriving Communities by living our purpose at Tate & Lyle. We know people are at their best when they feel they can be themselves, and businesses are at their best when everyone can be seen, heard and valued. That’s why we’ve set a target to achieve gender parity in our leadership and management roles by 2025. As a science-driven company, ensuring we are progressing EDI in our STEM-based roles is critical to achieving our goals and making a positive impact on the future.


1 According to UNESCO’s 2017 Report Cracking the Code: Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Source link:

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