A webinar series held online from September to November 2021.
The Swiss Academy of Sciences unites expert societies of Natural Sciences. The members of these societies usually include professionals in research, technology and science, who are active in private and public institutions. Whilst many women study Natural Sciences, they are still widely under-represented compared to men in advanced and leading positions.
The Platform Biology of the Swiss Academy of Sciences thus decided to organise a series of nine public webinars to address causes and consequences of this situation, and to propose solutions for achieving a wider diversity in science and research. The Organising Committee members were Astrid Oberson, Swiss Society of Agronomy, Carmen Faso, Swiss Society of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Nicole Imesch, Swiss Society of Wildlife Biology, Didier Picard, Life Sciences Switzerland, and Laurent Vallotton, Muséum Genève.
The webinar series focused on the ‘leaky pipeline’ that stands for the decreasing proportion of women from university studies towards advanced and leading positions in research and science. We addressed topics such as the importance of diversity, recruitment processes, the role of biology, measures to promote gender equality as well as researchers' career stories.
Seven of the nine webinars were recorded and are published on the respective event website as well as on Youtube.
I want it! Career experiences by young scientists
Female junior and advanced scientists, yet without a permanent position, share their experiences and their expectations regarding gender equality and diversity. They will present their career path and indicate highlights and hurdles of their professional development. During the panel discussion individual experiences as well as the role of institutional and societal boundary conditions will be addressed.
I did it! Experiences from leading scientists
Women who have attained leading positions may on their career path have been confronted with specific, gender related challenges. During the panel discussion, female professors and leaders will inform about their career path. They will include highlights and motivation of their career, the hurdles that they have encountered, and their solutions to overcome them. The interviews will address the significance of individual versus institutional and societal boundary conditions. Finally, the webinar aims to present experienced leaders to inspire young female scientists.
The term “excellence” is extensively used in academic research to justify and target funding and recruitment decisions and policies. In this webinar, we invite our participants to an open critique of the concept of excellence. The Better Science Initiative calls for a rethink in academia towards more sustainability, diversity and equal opportunities.
The role of funding policies and the use of quota
The allocation of financial support for research by academic institutions or by funding agencies may have a major impact on gender equality in science and research. This webinar explores the potential and limitations of gender quota in the recruitment and financial support of women in academia.
Let’s do it! Successful measures to close the gap
Solutions that can help mitigate the social loss of the academic leaky pipeline include recruitment practices at institutions of higher education and research or flexible child care. Recruitment regulation, quality control and important issues to promote women with children in leading positions will be discussed.
The gender-equality paradox
Underrepresentation of women in the STEM fields (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) is more pronounced in more gender-equal countries. This is part of the gender-equality paradox, a well-established phenomenon – yet counterintuitive –, where differences between men and women tend to grow as countries become more developed and gender-equal.
Women's role in leading positions
Critical times call for changes in the way leadership is expressed and implemented. This webinar will discuss value systems across gender, social status and ethnic diversity and the contribution of women to better outcomes in leadership styles, group dynamics and crisis management.