WiSE inspirational luncheon at MedicinTeknikDagarna 2013

As a young researcher you ask yourself whether your job is good, whether you are efficient enough, whether you will be able to face the constantly evolving environment. Research is a real challenge for an individual and even if characterized by a dynamic and fresh environment, there is room for improvement related to gender issues. The major problems are related to the low representation of women in higher academic positions and in scientific advisory boards, especially in technical fields such as engineering and mathematics as shown in the recent report “She Figures” from 2009.

When WiSE was born in 2011, we tried to offer a space for people to discuss the complex subject of gender equality in academia. We started by offering an environment where people could try to find reasons for the imbalance, and when possible, solutions. Following the idea that “You can’t be what you can’t see”, during each of our WiSE lunch seminars, a role model inspires our participants by describing her scientific work and her experience as a woman in academia. The possibility to hear interesting stories, share work-related issues and personal challenges has several benefits of which the most important one is coping with the feeling of isolation and hopelessness that young researchers often experience. Meeting with role models who succeeded in their careers is essential to concretely touch the potential of our careers as women. It makes our future possibilities visible and more accessible.

During MedicinTeknikDagarna 2013, arranged 1-2 October at Münchenbryggeriet in Stockholm by the Swedish Society for Medical Engineering and Physics (MTF), a novel item was organized – an inspirational luncheon for women in Biomedical engineering. Around 70 women joined to listen to Johanna Adami, Head of the Health Division of the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) and Professor in Clinical Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet. The contagious energy of Johanna reached our large audience and offered a starting point for discussions during the following mingle. This experience offered not only extra energy to all the young researchers that joined the lunch, but it was also an occasion for creating a dialogue between different universities in Sweden and for fostering potential future research collaborations.

The luncheon was arranged by the program committee of MedicinTeknikDagarna together with WiSE. We presented our activities and visions in WiSE. It was a great opportunity for us to spread our word and we got many new contacts. We would like to especially thank Anna Bjällmark, Lena-Kajsa Sidén and Kaj Lindecrantz in the program committee of MTD for the opportunity and for all good cooperation, and also Matilda Larsson, Malin Larsson, Elira Maksuti and Madelen Fahlstedt at KTH for their help.

Irene Perini, Neuroscience and Physiology, Clinical Neurophysiology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Sabine Reinfeldt, Signals and Systems, Chalmers University of Technology
Hana Dobsicek Trefna, Signals and Systems, Chalmers University of Technology
Sofia Lindqvist, Manager of Communication, MedTech West
Lisa Snäll, Communicator, Gothia Forum and Innovationssluss Västra Götaland

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