International Women in Science Conference

Sessions

I. Successful initiatives in the spotlight
II. Committees as gatekeepers
III. What can politics do?
IV. Changing institutional culture

I. Successful initiatives in the spotlight

The first session will take a constructive look at initiatives that are already having a positive impact on the working environment of female scientists, such as:

The session starts with short informative talks on selected initiatives, followed by a bazaar.

II. Committees as gatekeepers

Committees usually decide on appointments of positions and the granting of fellowships, awards, prizes and grants. However, owing to the present gender imbalance in sciencemost committees are male dominated. This session will examine unconscious bias and its potential effect on the outcome of selection of committees. We have invited scientists who frequently serve on selection and search committees to act as panellists. They will explain and discuss how gender issues are handled by different committees. In addition, we will hear how EMBO and major US research universities are trying to tackle gender imbalance in science.

III. What can politics do?

This session will take a look at the political attempts that have been made in Europe to attract and keep women in science. Both Norway and the UK will be highlighted as examples of countries where politicians are talking openly about gender imbalance. The title of the panel discussion is "Are quota the way forward?". Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, the outgoing president of the German Research Council (DFG), has provoked fierce discussion in Germany by stating that only quota will help if Germany is not to waste 50% of its intellectual potential. The situation is similar throughout Europe, and a discussion on this topic by an international panel is timely.

IV. Changing institutional culture

Is institutional culture holding back women in science and, if it is, how can it be changed? This session will present examples of how culture can be changed at the institutional level so that women stay in science. Interestingly, by improving the working climate for women, it is also improved for men, resulting in a win-win situation! We will also hear about the similarities between men and women - perhaps we should be focusing on gender similarities rather than gender differences?

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