On Monday 22nd October the Centre for Women in Science & Engineering Research (WiSER) at Trinity College Dublin, hosted a one-day conference entitled “From Surviving to Thriving: Women in Science”.
- to educate and debate the cause of women’s under-representation in academic science, engineering and technology (SET) in Ireland
- to learn about the successful Irish initiatives that are having a positive impact on the working environment of female scientists
- to learn from experience: hear stories of women who are thriving in SET
What I found really inspiring about the entire day was the positive tone, it was really about educating ourselves as women, understanding the challenges we face in the SET workplace and learning how to manage and overcome them. The outcome was overwhelmingly a feeling of encouragement and also the recognition that careers can be managed. While many women (myself included) take a career break to raise children it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to the give up on re-entering the workplace or making a contribution. Lack of confidence and isolation were among the many findings that emerged in terms the obstacles women faced in SET. I found this external reflection of what I had been feeling really beneficial. It is much easier to feel inspired and encouraged when you know you are not alone and others have overcome similar challenges and progressed in the field. What I found of most benefit though was the recognition that it is circumstances and not ability that are the limitations at present and circumstances will change. There were some excellent tips given on mentoring schemes and the importance of networking. All in all a day well spent, and I’m back feeling reinvigorated and far more optimistic.