Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The importance of marketing

Lunch today featured a few reserved tables with signs on them entitled "women's networking lunch" - now there was a flaw: whereas this lunch was intended for all people, men and women alike, to come talk to project colleagues about the EGEE gender action plan and hot topics of how to encourage more women to take up a position in science (and all related debates as the context is far-reaching), we found very few people dared take a seat with us. So we encouraged passers by to join us, to raised eyebrows and statements of "but this is reserved for women" or "I'm not a woman so I can't join you". Oh dear... It shows the importance of choosing an apt title to draw attention...
Anyway, that hurdle past and the achievement of inviting equal numbers of men and women to these tables, we all sat down to a delicious lunch with enthusiastic and motivating conversation which touched upon so many fields that it is impossible to write them all down here! The topics included the nature/nurture debate, measures institutes/companies can take to help parents balance work and home life, the role of education in choices made by children in what they want to study.... The conclusion drawn unanimously, at our table anyway, was "let's talk and keep talking". We all enjoy working together, men and women; we value the richness of our different approaches and it is clear that things are slowly but surely changing with respect to women's role in the scientific workplace - in time, it may well become less and less of an "issue"........ and part of normal life. The EGEE-III project will produce its final report on its activities, including all these discussions at EGEE'09, in March next year. Here's a big thank you to all contributors on the subject and for the mutitude of suggestions provided.

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