From left to right: Isabel Salgueiro (EELISA InnoCORE Coordinator), Krisztina László (BME), Inés Sánchez (UPM), Adeline Favier (PSL), Virginia Petre (UPB), Julien Becker (ENPC), Laura Tierling (EELISA Gender Equality ¬ Diversity workgroup) and Magda Luthay (FAU)
Two days of activities, three months of preparation work, and over twenty people involved. This is how EELISA commemorated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February).
On day 1 (February 9) EELISA Gender Equality Units gathered in person for the first time after more than one year and a half of working together online. In this meeting, hosted by the UPM’s Higher Technical School of Civil Engineers, they analysed the situation regarding gender balance at each institution (sex-disaggregated data) as well as at EELISA level (averages at EELISA). They also shared their gender equality policies.
This insightful session was wrapped up with a hands-on exercise where EELISA partners looked into potential actions to be implemented in the short and long term. During this exercise, a key point was highlighted – the need to start early to encourage young girls to choose science as a career and help them break stereotypes. For the group, creating and boosting partnerships with schools and cities seemed an important step toward this goal.
Members of the EELISA partners’ Gender Equality Units working together on Day 1 (9 February, 2023)
Day 2 (February 10) offered the second public EELISA Roundtable titled “Parenting & STEM in the 21st Century: Raising children, giving up science?” with the participation of panelists from all EELISA insitutions. Adeline Favier, Head of Human Ressources at PSL University, was one of them. In thie following article, and as part of the #EELISANarrator series, she shares with us her reflections and conclusions.
Madrid, February 2023:
Gender Equality, parenthood, career, STEM… I am an HR professional, and I had the opportunity to implement gender equality plans in my career, so all these key words convinced me to go to Madrid!
Gathered in the context of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February), members of EELISA, we shared key figures regarding gender equality in our institutions. Well, in 2023… it makes you think again. The reality of the gap between men and women’s careers cannot be hidden. Talking about gender equiality made us raise the subject of toys and activities dedicated or offered to girls and boys. We mentionned the importance of role models, at a very young age and afterwards. Did you know that vocation comes before 7 years old? I did not. I couldn’t help noticing exclusively men on the walls walking in the hallway at UPM, most likely brilliant and top level researchers. But men only.
The gap is still very visible in the statistics for full professor positions. Girls are brilliant. Masters, PhDs. After their PhDs, the very precarious phase of the post doctoral positions, very often abroad, is a key moment. Very often, our institutions cannot retain them. They have to make concessions, and too often take decisions that are not fully compatible with a career.
We cannot loose them anymore. We cannot have them choose between family and career. What can we do ? We shared good practices to support researchers when they become parents, mothers and fathers. Our support systems are very different from a country to another. But we, EELISA, can also be part of the support system.
Offering competitive and attractive conditions for women and men who are -or are about to become- parents. Coaching them after returning from a maternity or paternity leave; recruiting them to help continue their research during the leave; offering family friendly conditions at work such as flexibility; kindness and comprehension regarding parenthood. They are some of the things we can do.
We also talked about equal leave and (in 2023… ) about discrimination against women. The necessity of training on a management level. Guide line, help desk. In our institutions, sexual and sexists violences are still a strong issue to be adressed, and to be fought over. Equality transcends STEM, of course, it’s interdisciplinary by nature.
I heard and wrote down many interesting ideas. I felt nourished and energized by all these women and men sharing their vision, work, wishes and also optimism. I keep this feeling very preciously with me now and I won’t let it go. Being together had an impact on me. I am taking actions now at a small scale, in my university, trying to do my part. I also remember writing the sentence, among my notes : “EELISA: a platform for impact”. That was from the words of Sofia Costa D’Aguiar, EELISA Executive Director.
Women and Girls in Science in EELISA ? They are many. They can be visible. They are brilliant, they can be rewarded. They are sometimes mothers and they can be supported. At an European level, we need to keep raising awareness around this issue and take concrete actions. EELISA is the opportunity to build a world where parenthood is no longer a hurdle. Let’s not choose between children and career, let’s valorize parenthood and make it easier for parents to have a career. I am sure about one thing after these EELISA events: I cannot wait 100 years. My children cannot wait 100 years either. Education is the key. Our institutions have such an impact potential, for a more inclusive and responsible world. We are part of it… We are … EELISA.
By Adeline Favier
Adeline Favier, is a French civil servant with a Masters in Law & Public administration at Pantheon Sorbonne University, Adeline has been a Human Resources Professional since 2010. She is currently the Head of Human Resources at PSL Université Paris.
SOME LINKS TO REVISIT THE EELISA COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE 2023:
⇒ Check the full photo album of both days HERE
⇒ Check the video testimonial of panelists from Scoula Normale and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
⇒ Check the full recording of the EELISA Roundtable “Parenting & STEM in the 21ST Century”
⇒ Check the list of all the panelists and bios HERE