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Women in the Natural Sciences: Overview and historical perspective

Webinar N°1 within a series of nine webinars on gender equality and diversity


16:00 - 17:00

Gender diversity and equality remain a challenge in higher positions in the Natural Sciences. The first webinar provides facts and figures on the current situation as well as a historical perspective.

male and female scientists on blue background
Image: pixelfarm

Opening by Dr. Astrid Oberson, representing the Organising Committee of the webinar series, Swiss Society of Agronomy, Switzerland and Prof. Christoph Scheidegger, President Board of the Platform Biology, Swiss Academy of Sciences, Switzerland

The Leaky Pipeline – losing talents

Daniela Hansen, Equal – Office of Equal Opportunities and Diversity, ETH Zurich and Project Manager of the Fix the Leaky Pipeline Programme (FLP) - Career-Building Programme for female scientists in the ETH Domain

The term «leaky pipeline» stands for the decreasing proportion of women from university studies towards advanced and leading positions in research and science. The talk will provide an overview on the leaky pipeline in Natural Sciences, based on statistical surveys from Switzerland. It will present the results of an inquiry on the reasons for leaving the academic career path carried out at ETH Zurich. Combining a scientific career with family life emerges as a significant hurdle.

“Being the only woman is not particular fun” - Gender Inequality in Natural Sciences

Dr. Andrea Zimmermann, Centre for Gender Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland

Fifty years ago, women in Switzerland obtained the right to participate at votes and elections at the federal level. This was a cornerstone for political and societal equality, but gender inequality is still reality for women. How has women’s representation in Natural Sciences developed since this historical event? The talk draws attention to the history and to the current situation of women at Swiss Universities in Science. It also discusses the development of gender policies at universities, with focus on the Natural Sciences and lines out pressing issues on the move to more gender equality, as ‘women and excellence’ is still regarded as a contradiction.

Women in the natural sciences