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WINGS Conference 2011

Gender equality in Science
WINGS 4th annual conference was held May 11th-12th at Hovs Hallar.

Summary

ThemeGender equality in ScienceIt is a known fact that the number of women scientists is low at the Faculty of Science. Creating a strong scientific network is a way for the faculty to utilise the scientific competence of these women. For that reason the network WINGS arranged – for the fourth year - an annual network meeting for women scientists where we presented and discussed our research. About 150 women scientists, employed as researchers at the faculty, and women researchers working outside the university as well as interested women PhD students and post docs were invited. All others at the faculty were also welcomed. 20 persons participated. Invited key note speakers were Claudine Hermann, Honorary professor of Physics at Ecole Polytechnique, France and Dr. Evanthia Kalpazidou Schmidt from Aarhus University, Denmark. Also presentations and discussion about the present status of female researchers at the Faculty of Science (and how we can change it). Our new homepage was launched. All participants (20) presented their research. 

The meeting was organized by: Johanna Stadmark and Nathalie van der Putten.

The WINGS working group since 2010: Pia Romare (coordinator until June 2011), Anna Broström, Johanna Stadmark, Helena Filipsson, Daniel Conley, Edith Hammar, Frida Rosengren (webmaster), Sindra Peterson Årsköld, Charlotte Sparrenbom.

WINGS background

The network was initiated by co-workers at the Dept. of Geology in 2003 and was in the beginning an informal regular lunch club. 2008 the first WINGS-retreat – open to the whole faculty – was organized and annual meetings have been held since then. On average 20 researchers from different career levels attend these meetings and the goal is to have a scientific meeting outside the established framework – a meeting for inspiration and networking. The WINGS network focus on research, exchanging ideas, discussing scientific goals and creating new contacts.

This years meeting

1st Keynote speaker - Claudine Hermann

Claudine got her PhD in Solid State Physics (1976) and she was the first woman ever appointed Professor at Ecole Polytechnique (1992) in France. Claudine was involved in research on electronic components (leading to the transistors and chips we use today), optoelectronics and magnetic recording. Today she is committed to the question of what happens to women in science. She described the situation in France – which has not improved much during the last ten years. She also talked about the actions she and others are taking to improve the situation; to make science more attractive, give evidence of its social utility, present role models, fight against stereotypes and present the variety of success schemes. Claudine is now Vice-president of the European Platform of Women Scientists.

2nd Keynote speaker //pure.au.dk/portal/da/eks [at] cfa.au.dk" target="_blank">Evanthia Kalpazidou Schmidt.

Evanthia's research focuses on gender diversity management policies in Science and Technology organisations. One of the EU projects she is involved in is PRAGES - PRActising Gender Equality in Science. Within this project they have produced a set of guidelines for Gender Equality. Here they present three strategies:

The first strategy consists of making research institutions an enabling environment for women’s progression and working life. 
– promote change in the culture and traditional behaviours of the work environments;
– support work-life balance for all;
– provide early-stage career-development.

The second strategy aims to include the gender dimension in the very process of research
and innovation designing. 
– overcome stereotypes of women and science;
– influence scientific contents and methods.

The third strategy consists of promoting women in scientific leadership positions. 
– support women’s leadership in research practice;
– support women’s leadership in research management;
– support women’s role in science communication;
– increase women’s presence and weight in managing innovation processes and in the 
related science-society relationships.

Read more at http://www.retepariopportunita.it/prages.

Scientific presentations by WINGS members.

We heard many interesting talks. The time scale spanned from nanoseconds to 200 000 years and the size scale from electrons and aerosols, via archaea, pollen and forams to honey bees and cichlids. We heard about dwarf males, drunken plants and melting DNA, about climate change and mating strategies and about communication with stakeholders and in plants.

News:

We now have a web page, see www.lu.se/wings, and soon a new WINGS ”symbol”. These were created and presented by Frida Rosengren.

Where are we now? Presentations and discussion

What is the present status at the Faculty of Science? Anna Broström presented the equality plan.

Gender certification at LU. Elin Sundquist told about pilot project in which the Dept. of Earth and Ecosystem sciences takes part.

Stop blaming the children! Helena Filipsson has reacted to an article in Nature Geosciences saying that one explanation to the “leaking pipeline” is that women produce less when they get children. There are studies that show that this is not the case. In comment, that will appear in Nature Geosciences in a couple of weeks, Helena says that instead of blaming the children we should deal with the real problems:

  • Who do the department support and push?
  • Visibility (who is invited to be a key note speaker, to write comments in Nature and Science etc.)
  • Women should be given access to the invited-only club
  • The underrepresentation of women in science – is it discrimination? Daniel Conley says – Yes it is. Together with Johanna Stadmark he has looked at how many women authors that have been invited to write in Science and Nature. Those men and women invited ranged from PhD students to full professors. Within Earth and environment sciences only 5% of the invited authors were women! Within Biology and Chemistry the number was 20%. And we know that the share of women within these disciplines is much higher, at least 40%.

What can we do at the faculty of science? Final group discussions.

1.How do you perceive your work environment (good things, improvements, present situation)? (Representatives from Earth Eco, Physics theoret, Aarhus,Quartlog, physics)

  • Things have improved in the departments over recent years
  • But at the biology dep. informal duties are dominated by women
  • At the university level the environment is competitive

2.Does the understanding of scientific career depend on gender?

  • Women must perform better than men – weather this is true or not it puts a lot of pressure on women.
  • Men pushed by older colleges to a larger extent
  • Family issues only discussed with women
  • Do Women more often have a negative inner drive? Women often have a more problem oriented view, while men tend to see the possibilities. There are both “real” and “imagined” pressures.

3.What are the features important for leadership within science?

  • Project leaders in a team
  • On all levels: leaders should have visions and be able to communicate their vision
  • The leader role is often unclear to members and to the leader himself
  • Things are improving at LU – there are leadership training courses e.g. project leading (PhD level) LuPoD (post-doc level), Tomorrows research leaders, Leadership course for coordinators  of the Strategic research areas.

4.Expectations/Experiences being a part of WINGS?
The experience is positive!!!! It is a good forum for scientific progress and have the potential to generate new project ideas integrating research areas presented. Moreover it provides a encouraging atmosphere to jointly improve the situation for Women in Science.
WINGS could be more active. Some suggestions:

  • Find out if there are more networks in national universities
  • Develop the webpage more: Enhance profile, Link list to all professors,
  • Invite Head of departments to lunch meetings (Edith) – targeted invitations.
  • Mentoring – compile a list of mentors (Anna B, Anna E, Pia)
  • Collect scientific arguments to use when people say there is no gender issue.
  • Compile keynote speakers list
  • Write about WINGS in Wikipedia (Frida)

To continue…

  • WINGS will be represented by at least two members at European Platform of Women Scientists annual meeting in Budapest 28th – 29th of June.
  • Pia Romare has been the coordinator during 2010 and the spring of 2011. Anna Broström will be coordinator from July 2011.
  • Next year, 2012, there will be a new retreat! It will most likely take place in early May.

This year – as last year – the weather was lovely and thanks to the excellent planning of Johanna and Nathalie and disciplined speakers we had time for a nice walk along the high cliffs. In the evening we enjoyed a superb dinner and free discussions. Please join us next year.

See you at Hovs Hallar in May 2012

Pia Romare

Contacts during 2011/2012:

Pia.romare [at] geol.lu.se andAnna.Brostrom [at] geol.lu.se

Page Manager:

WINGS (Women IN Great Sciences)
Science Faculty, Medical Faculty & LTH, Lund University

wings [at] wings.lu.se