Changing the System vs. Focusing on Cultural Barriers for Women

Cecilia Lunardini, PhD: Changing the System vs. Focusing on Cultural Barriers for Women

Suggestions for how to increase women's participation in science with an emphasis on policy change.

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Dr. Cecilia Lunardini's Bio

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Transcript: Changing the System vs. Focusing on Cultural Barriers for Women

One question that I think you should ask is: what do you think is the way to increase women's participation in science? I think everybody has a different answer to that, and my answer is that ultimately, I think, we have to change the system. I see out of focus in the cultural aspect. There are prejudices that are cultural stereotypes that suppress the participation of women in science. Now I think that ultimately, these prejudices will die out. It's just a matter of time, but sooner or later, it will happen.

What worries me more is that the system, in academia, is unfriendly for women, and this will not change unless concrete actions will be taken. What I'm specifically thinking about is that over time the career in academia has become longer. People get tenured at a later age. There are longer years spent doing post-docs, and this means that the tenure clock coincides with the needs of the biological clock for a woman. That's very challenging. So I think that the reason we need to change the system to make it so that the time of non-permanent positions is shortened, and one can get tenured earlier in life. How to do that is a big question. I'm afraid I don't have an answer right now.

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