In a webinar held on 17th October 2023, a panel of inspirational women shared their experiences and advice on addressing the opportunities and challenges of a STEM career.
Chaired by Dr Gemma Modinos, Reader in Neuroscience & Mental Health, King’s College London and previous Chair of the Young Academy of Europe (YAE), the webinar was co-organised by the AE Cardiff Hub and CALIPER. A panel of three inspirational women, representing different careers stages and areas of expertise, shared their experiences as women in STEM.
Speaking alongside our keynote, Professor Simonetta Manfredi (Oxford Brookes University, UK), were two role models, Professor Karine Van Doninck (Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium) and Dr Virginia Petre (University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania). Professor Van Doninck and Dr Petre have made significant contributions to their respective fields, and participated in our CALIPER Role Model interviews. At the webinar, all three speakers shared their experiences and provided invaluable advice on meeting the opportunities and challenges of a STEM career.
Importance of women in STEM: Women bring unique perspectives to science and technology, emphasising the need for gender diversity to achieve better outcomes and innovations. Women are motivated by a strong desire to apply their scientific knowledge for societal good, a driving force behind their transition into entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship in science: An increasing number of women are transitioning from academia to entrepreneurship to take their scientific work to market and benefit society. The transition into entrepreneurship is demanding, but it can provide more flexibility and autonomy, which some women find preferable to academic careers. A major barrier for women in entrepreneurship is securing investments, as funding is predominantly directed towards male-founded start-ups and companies. To address these challenges, the ‘Women Backing Women’ campaign aims to unite female investors and scientists, promoting gender diversity in both sectors and driving innovation for gender equality.
Gender stereotypes: Gender stereotypes can persist, affecting how women in science and entrepreneurship are perceived and therefore having a negative impact on their careers. Double standards in evaluating women’s performance in various fields, including pitching for investments, continue to be a challenge.
The Q&A session addressed a range of topics, including the gender pay gap in STEM, bridging between various professional careers (research, academia and entrepreneurship) and work-life balance.
Watch the webinar
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 873134