IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast 2020

12 Feb 2020
12 Feb 2020


On 12 February 2020, over 50 women from the four tertiary institutions across the Western Cape- the University of Cape Town (UCT), Stellenbosch University (SU), the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), as well as representatives from Lasec, gathered at the picturesque tea garden at the Rhodes Memorial restaurant for the third Global Women’s Breakfast.

On January 18, 2011 the first International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Global Women’s Breakfast: Women Sharing a Chemical Moment in Time was organised as part of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC2011). On that day, there were close to 100 breakfasts in 44 countries attended by approximately 5000 women chemists, making it one of the largest gatherings of women scientists at that time.

On 12 February 2019, Dr Laura McConnell and Prof Mary Garson organised the second IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast: Empowering Women in Chemistry as part of the celebrations for the centenary founding of IUPAC. Women chemists and male supporters from over 50 different countries took part. Worldwide there were over 200 breakfasts, with more than five thousand women involved, almost certainly making it the largest “virtual” gathering of women chemists worldwide.

The third in the series: The Global Women’s Breakfast- Building Bonds to Create Future Leaders, was again held on 12 February 2020, one day after the United Nations Day of Women and Girls in Science. This year there were 242 breakfasts that took place around the world- a global breakfast map was created which illustrated the location of each registered breakfast.

Global breakfast map created by IUPAC highlighting the location of each registered breakfast for 2020.

The Global Women’s Breakfast was designed to assist women chemists to expand their network of contacts, both locally and internationally. Women at different stages of their individual careers were encouraged to inform each other about their career progress, and together explore opportunities, in professional development and in research or teaching horizons. Organisations of all types; universities, companies, national chemistry societies, government laboratories, and other scientific organisations, as well as individual groups of chemists, were invited to participate.

Locally, this event was hosted by the Department of Chemistry, UCT and women postgraduate students, academics, scientific officers and sales representatives enjoyed a morning of networking and forming new bonds. The morning comprised of an introduction and brief history highlighting the importance of this initiative by Dr Cesarina Edmonds-Smith, followed by a relaxed breakfast where delegates chatted about what life is like as women in science and exchanged stories about their personal journeys which was empowering and inspiring to all who attended. Delegates from the four different universities were mixed to ensure that each person networked with someone new to encourage the development of a diverse network.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our sponsors who made this event possible: The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the South African Chemical Institute (SACI), Whitehead Scientific and Lasec.

Dr Cesarina Edmonds-Smith and Dr Roxanne Mohunlal
Organisers of the Global Women’s Breakfast 2020
Department of Chemistry, UCT

Participants of the Global Women’s Breakfast 2020 hosted by the Department of Chemistry, UCT at the Rhodes Memorial Tea Garden, Cape Town, South Africa

Breakfast treats at the Global Women’s Breakfast 2020

Delegates networking at the Global Women’s Breakfast 2020