Dr. Pia Bagamasbad is currently an Associate Professor and the Principal Investigator of the Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory.
Dr. Bagamasbad, together with the Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory, is devoted to studying the role of hormones in the development of the nervous system and hormone-dependent cancers. Dr. Bagamasbad’s research interests include hormone action and neuronal development, hormone-related/hormone-driven cancers, and long-term and epigenetic effects of stress on the brain.
While working as a Research Assistant in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Bagamasbad witnessed first-hand the existing gender inequality in the life sciences field, which is pervasive in the United States and other western countries. When she came back to the Philippines, she saw that there is an almost equal number of male and female scientists. She realized that it is more advantageous as a woman to pursue a career in life sciences in the Philippines compared to the United States.
“In the field of life sciences, I would say that here in the Philippines, there is not much of a difference between the number of men and women scientists, especially in the academe—It is an achievement! However, when we talk about tenure track positions, it is still dominated by men.”
Dr. Bagamasbad believes that women should take up more space, especially in scientific fields, because women need more representation, and stereotypes about women only staying at home to take care of the family shouldn’t exist anymore.
“Some people tend to have gender bias towards women because they are taking up multiple roles apart from their career. Women, for me, are excellent multitaskers which makes them efficient with the tasks they are handed!”
For Dr. Bagamasbad, despite women thriving in the academe and scientific fields, there is still a need for more women to take up more leadership roles, especially now where countries with great COVID response are led by women. According to Dr. Bagamasbad, there is also a need for more students to pursue sciences.
“In the life sciences field, the struggle right now is not necessarily gender inequality, but to get more students, male or female, to pursue careers in sciences and for scientists/professionals to stay in the country. Right now, in this pandemic, that is what we need and what should be prioritized.”