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February 11, 2022
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
The discourse on gender equality is also of high importance in science. According to statistics from the German UNESCO Institute, the worldwide proportion of women in science is only about 30% (cf. UNESCO Institute 2022). In order to address this issue, UNESCO and UN-WOMEN launched the "International Day of Women and Girls in Science". We as a company, which is sometimes active in the scientific field, would also like to draw attention to the issue of gender equality. As part of this, we asked two of our female scientists what their wishes and conditions are for working in science in the long term. Vanessa Wiencke answered the question as follows: "Respect, recognition and security - In many areas of science, it is not easy for women and girls to get trained at all. For example, being told that a woman should have her big brother show her how to do certain calculations is quite off-putting and leads to a certain amount of demotivation. This is just one of many things I encountered in my studies that are simply disrespectful, to say the least. After changing my field of study and university, I realized for the first time that there are also scientists who make no distinction between genders, nationalities or political as well as religious orientations. Actually, this should be normal in our modern society. But in some areas of science this does not seem to be the case. If you look back in history, you often see that great female scientists had made great discoveries for which other scientists then got the credit. Whether it was because they were "only women" remains to be seen. But it is definitely the case that women and girls are often not trusted to do good scientific work. Only truly outstanding performance is usually recognized. There are studies that show that the mathematical performance of girls is reduced when they hear before a test that girls cannot do math. I would like to see my achievements continue to be recognized and for other women and girls to be recognized and encouraged for their achievements from a young age. When you study a science subject, you are told that when you work in science, it is usually because you work on a project for a certain amount of time and when you finish a project, you have to find a new project and therefore a new job. While that brings a lot of variety and a certain level of adventure, it also brings a certain level of uncertainty. As a woman, the topic of family usually comes up sooner or later. If a woman has to look for a new job every few years and runs the risk of having to stop working in the meantime, this leads to a conflict between family planning and a career in science. In addition, it is still often the case that women do the housework and raise the children. This is slowly changing, but only slowly, and leads to mothers having at least 1.5 times the workload of other women. For future possible family planning, I would like to have some financial security. I don't want to raise children without being able to be there for them. At the same time, I want to be able to do my scientific work conscientiously and thoroughly. Without the right partner at my side, the support of my colleagues and the security of my employer, balancing family and work is unthinkable for me. I think this is not unique to science. As a scientist with a permanent position in a company, I have more security to realize my wishes and goals. I'm glad to work in a family-oriented company like this, where people treat each other with respect regardless of gender."   Another colleague writes: "In order to be willing and able to work in science in the long term, you need not only a positive working environment and a corresponding monetary component, but also other factors. One very important factor is, of course, (stable) working conditions. Especially in order to be able to work in science in the long term, it is essential not only to find the working conditions necessary for research and science at the beginning, but also to be able to reliably build on them over time, i.e. not just to get short temporary contracts. Another, no less important factor, is the possibility to actively participate in setting goals and to help formulate them. This is also and especially important with regard to the self-motivation to achieve these goals. Last but not least, the compatibility of career (science) and family rounds off the conditions for wanting to work in science in the long term."     Bildquelle: <a href='https://www.freepik.com/vectors/scientist'>Scientist vector created by pch.vector - www.freepik.com</a>