"What do I want from my future?", I, Scientist Conference on "Gender, career paths and networking"

25-26 May 2018, Berlin, Germany

Last week, the second I, Scientist” conference, a platform for orientation to young scientists and motivation of women and girls to pursue STEM careers, was hosted at the Adlershof Campus in Berlin, between 25-26 May 2018.

The chosen triad for this year’s “I,Scientist” meeting was “Gender, career paths and networking”, all important factors towards equal opportunity.

During the two days meeting, the participants, consisting of females but also males working in academia and industry in the fields of natural science, technology, engineering and mathematics and coming from all career levels (PhDs, postdoc, Prof, etc), had the opportunity to listen to lectures and discuss on gender barriers, how equally women are nowadays treated and which obstacles still face in their working environment.  

Inspiring lectures from key female role models covered a wide range of gender equality and career path topics, such as the under-representation of women in physics and the benefits of diversity; the career “glass ceiling” issue women often face and ways of perceiving gender-related stereotypes and discrimination;  the “impostor syndrome” among females; best practices to encourage and advice female students; the value and benefits of mentoring and couching; dual career and career management; gender and leadership matters.

Moreover, speakers included women who first requested childcare funding from DFG, playing a fundamental role in initiating the Gender Equality funds in all Priority Programs (SPP). Thanks to this accomplishment, the SPP SeaLevel coordination was also there and participated to the meeting!

“What do I want from my future?”, “How do you want to work?” were some of the questions the participants were called to reflect on.

Speakers encouraged the participants to think about their individuality and where they are motivated, not hesitate to request when they need something essential for their well-being in their work environment, to consider integration into society through associations, as well as the option of a “fast” habilitation when facing the dilemma of academia or industry and changing their career path.

The career path discussion further focused on the doubtful issue of scientific mobility, which is still considered as an indicator of scientific “excellence” and targets mainly the young scientists, but also the associated obstacles imposed on both female and male scientists against personal life and family balance. 

Moreover, the conference provided various resources and opportunities for networking, such as a career fair and career speed dating session, workshops, science slams and other networking events, while the final public panel discussion concerned the “Equal rites- Why do we still talk about gender (in)equality in 2018”.

I, Scientist was initiated in 2016 by a group of PhD-students with the aim to take action for equal opportunities in the sciences and thus founded the Lise-Meitner Society e.V. as the conference host.