This week, the world will celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11, which aims to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. As part of this effort, Gender STI has launched its own #WomenInScience campaign. We talked to researchers and experts, both men and women, about why they got involved in science, what they think about current statistics on women researchers and what they think needs to be done to encourage more women and girls to pursue scientific careers.
To increase the number of #WomenInScience, we need to think about the environment that they work in and the opportunities they’re offered. Yvonne Vermonden, senior consultant at Nehem, wants to uplift women in science and ensure they get the support they need.
What is your job position and why did you decide to work in science, technology and innovation? What does your job entail?
I’m a senior consultant at Nehem. We support universities and universities of applied sciences with their research projects. This is both in terms of funding as well as with the development of Gender Equality Plans.
According to the United Nations, currently less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women. What do you think about that?
I think this it’s a shame since this means that a lot of female talent leaves academia, especially considering the fact that currently female students are usually the majority in most studies.
What would you tell young girls and women who are interested in pursuing a career in science?
Go for it! Find a support network of other women who can help you to pursue your goals.
What do you think needs to be done to encourage more girls and women to pursue scientific careers?
The environment of these types of jobs needs to be better. Thus, women need to be as actively encouraged as men. They need to be offered the same opportunities as men. Also, for both genders it would be beneficial if the balance between work and family life was better.
What message would you send to the public on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science?
More women in science will lead to better results for everyone! It’s not charity or goodwill to have more women in science, it’s what we need to improve society.