The Voice of Women
Women are pursuing careers in science at higher rates than ever before, a very positive result for the growing representation of female voices. However, the percentage of women scientists has stalled in the last years and is in no way guaranteed that it will not start decreasing. Particularly in physics and astrophysics this percentage hovers almost unchanged in the last two decades somewhere between 20% and 30% in most regions in the world, with some small geographical variations. We are well aware that the academic community has not solved, sometimes not even considered, all the problems and the challenges the women still have to face throughout their professional life.
With this in mind we formulated and distributed among the approximately 80 women scientists in our collaboration a short survey, in which we enquired about their level of representation in their institutions, the gender related difficulties they have encountered in their professional life, their sense of belonging in the field, as well as proposed solutions towards eradicating harassment.
We are scientists who happen to be female. Being women and doing what we love to do unapologetically shows other girls and young women that this is possible. Our discussion focuses on women, but the problems and solutions likely also apply to other underrepresented groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities and scientists with non-binary gender identities. In the end the improvements in culture will without doubt positively affect men as well. With this survey, we would like to give voice to women and help the whole science community increase awareness of the still persistent difficulties related to gender issues.
If you like, tell us how old you are
What are the main challenges you face with respect to your professional life?
Across your professional life, did you experience lower sense of belonging compared to your male colleagues?
Did you ever face bad/unprofessional behaviour from colleagues?
Are women equally represented in your University/Institution?