Women Researchers Networking Event during the USNCTAM18
During the 18th U.S. National Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (USNCTAM18) in Chicago, the Women Researchers’ Networking Event was held at 6:30-8:30 PM on June 6th, 2018. Springer joined forces with the USNCTAM18 committee and the Female Researchers Chapter (FRC) of the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM) to help the opening of the event. 56 researchers from various universities and research institutes gathered at the event sharing their experiences.
Prof. Linda Franzoni, Secretary of USNCTAM and Ms. Silvia Schilgerius, Senior Editor Applied Sciences of Springer Nature delivered welcome speeches. Dr. H Alicia Kim, the Chair of IACM-FRC introduced the purpose of the event, the mission of IACM-FRC and ran the event as moderator. The event began with a reception catering and ended with lively discussions.
During the event in form of round-table free discussions, three questions (but not limited to) were proposed and discussed: 1) How did you arrive at the current stage in your career?; 2) How do you maintain the work-life balance? and 3) What’s your definition of equality of men and women in the research environment?
Participants reached consensus on excellent training and skills during the typical route from undergraduate to PhD. Strong family support, a corner stone of the success for women researchers’ career, made the tough times less challenging. Additionally, hard work, setting clear goals, facing risks and negotiation skills also contributed to women’s success in the intensely competitive academic environment.
Additionally, some practical suggestions were given for women to manage both scientific research work and caring for their family, such as prioritizing professional and personal life, relying on friends and family, taking time for oneself, workout/exercise and eating healthy.
Participants also made appeal for more female plenary speakers, no more stereotypes on gender in STEM research, recognition for both genders for equal accomplishments, no more judging of research based on gender and equal work, equal pay, equal opportunities, equal resources, as well as other equalities in the research environment.
Several very specific solutions proposed were to provide day care at conference for recent mothers, to create Facebook groups, Twitter communities and other social media for female researchers.