Be reactive and jump at opportunities!

The seminar Inspiring Future Women in Science was held on March 5th, just in time for the International Women's Day.

1. H.E. David Cvach, French Ambassador. 2. Anna Wetterbom CEO, Young Academy of Sweden. 3. Professor Christine Petit, College de France. Click to enlarge. Photo: Young Academy of Sweden

The room at the French Residence in Stockholm is full with young women researchers. The Young Academy's former chair Maria Tenje recalls a recent anecdote:

– A man who was late for a meeting the other day was kindly invited to the table by the Chair, while a women who also arrived late, was not. When I invited her over to the table she said “please no that is not necessary”, I recognized the pattern. A seat at the table is important. You should ask for to be Chair, Maria Tenje advices the audience.

The Young Academy of Sweden was pleased to participate in the seminar that was arranged by Institut Francais en Suède and Embassy of France in Sweden. The purpose of the seminar was to empower and inspire young women researchers to stay in academia and pursue a career in research. Role models were offered sharing personal stories, career advice and experiences of becoming successful researchers. Moreover, an opportunity to network followed.

French Ambassador H.E. David Cvach, kindly welcomed the seminar to the French Residence in Stockholm and talked about initiatives for gender equality in France. Amongst other things, he mentioned lists that are compiled and published which benchmark the best, and worst, companies according to a range of specific gender equality and diversity criteria.

Christine Petit (Professor at College de France, Professor at Institut Pasteur, Director of Institut de l’audition, Kavli Prize Laureate 2018, L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate – Europe 2004) presented her research career path and highlighted advice for the participants.

– You should seize opportunities, Christine Petit emphasized, be reactive! And pursue your own ideas.

Christine Petit did not want to describe herself as being a career strategist, but rather a dedicated scientist. The fact that she has been courageous and fought for her ideas she considered as important success factors.

For the panel conversation two young academy alumnae joined Christine Petit: Beatrice Crona (Executive Director at The Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Programme (GEDB) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Associate Professor and Deputy Science Director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University), and Maria Tenje (Professor in Microsystems Technology at Uppsala University, former Young Academy of Sweden Chair, and L’Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science awardee in Denmark 2009). Anna Wetterbom, CEO for the Young Academy of Sweden moderated the panel and took the opportunity to promote the upcoming call for application to The L'Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Prize Sweden on June 1st: The L'Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Prize Sweden.

Beatrice Crona reminded the seminar not to always generalize career advice, different aspects may apply to different disciplines. She explained that even though having spent most of her career at one university, a fluid and international research field provided lots of input and challenges. Maria Tenje said it had been crucial for her to be in an environment where she felt support. At a 'rough patch' in her career that was not the case. But rather than give up or blame herself, she managed to define the issues and decided to move to an environment which suited her better.

After the seminar an opportunity to mingle followed, an energetic exchange that also had room for coffee, croissants and laughter.

Sveriges unga akademi
Lilla Frescativägen 4A
SE 114 18 Stockholm