Women in science around the world – Part 1/3

Ever wondered about the different point of views women in science have of their careers? DiscovHER shares the first part of a series of interviews conducted with 15 women scientists from around the world, to learn all about their perceptions, inspirations, and experiences! This week, it’s the turn for scientists from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile and Denmark to share their views!

Collaborating for scientific progress

I think we are all global citizens and have much to gain from working together across national borders. Scientists are quite good at this, but we could save a lot of time and effort by communicating better and not duplicating effort.

Australia: Dr Kathryn Holt, Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne.

Women’s advantages

Women can contribute a lot to science, because we have great creativity, great capacity of working in groups, and great leadership capacity. We have to take the advantages we have compared to men. We need to fight for science!!!

Brazil: Dr Carolina Andrade, Laboratory for Molecular Modeling and Drug Design, Federal University of Goias, Goiania.

The challenges in the way

While the gender ratio in science has improved immensely in recent decades, women continue to experience and overcome challenges along the way. For young women scientists, as with many other fields of work, we face the challenge of balancing a demanding career with having children and raising a family. I believe in the importance of striving to work toward equality, whether it be through mentorship, education or initiatives to support young parents.

Dr Vanessa D’Costa, Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada

Inspiring girls to do science, the Chilean method

In Chile, I was influenced by several programs that encourage young people to pursue a scientific career. It is important for young people to see that scientists are not mostly male or female loners as often portrayed in movies, but people with families and people of many different lifestyles and backgrounds.

Chile: Dr Ariela Vergara-Jaque, Postdoctoral Fellow, NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

The importance of mentorship

Mentorship is very important. I have had several great mentors and I am not sure I would still be in science if it would not have been for their support and guidance. Not that I have always followed their advice and experiences, but because discussing and reflecting on the many difficult choices that needs to be taken in the early stage of a career helped me take the choise that were most right for me.

Denmark: Dr Signe Normand, Assistant Professor, Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

Stay tuned for the next series of interviews, which will be published next week!

All these scientists are 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talents.

For Women in Science

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