… the beginning ….

Posted by Concettina Sfienti on March 17, 2015

A couple of years ago within the Excellence Cluster PRISMA at the University of Mainz we begun setting up a new gender program to support women in all phases of their academic careers at the cluster and in its general research environment.

We named the program after Irene Joliot-Curie, the daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie and Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 for the discovery of artificial radioactivity together with her husband.

The new idea behind the Irene-Joliot Curie program is to combine social media elements and real life. Just as users in web2.0 are called upon to interact and communicate with each other, women in and around the cluster are invited to contribute to the composition of the program.

I brought the idea of connecting experiences from a completely different framework, mainly that of technology and production in business from Fabio Lalli

(unfortunately this talk is in italian but I guess you can get the main messages from the pictures and with the help of google translator).

The idea is therefore neither mine, nor new but it has never been applied to the long standing problem of gender in science.
The name of the program then implies the wish behind it, namely the adoption of role models (like Marie was for Irene) as catalyst in the networking. On one side women in science often lacks of female role models. On the other these role models are isolated cases, never build in a network for other young scientists.

We therefore begun inviting them for seminars or round-table to Mainz and we are now setting up a first prototype of collaboration between universities and research laboratories to foster the exchange of female scientists at the graduate and post-doc levels.

One year has already passed since our kick-off event and we are still experimenting new ideas.

This space is a kind of additional experimental lab for new inputs and hopefully feedbacks from your side.

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