Women as Role Models and Active Citizens
25-29 August 2022
The EQUALS-EU hackathon in Slovenia was held jointly with the H2020-funded CHANGE project and COST Action Ocean for Biotech within a wider four-day programme at the National Institute of Biology in Ljubljana with total number of 72 participants. The hackathon on the status of women in biotechnology was organized by Intersection Centre for Science and Innovation, in parallel with the first ever professional portfolio of the institute’s employees and an exchange of information among projects.
Winning team & solution:
A crowdfunding platform that would specifically target biotech seed funding for female entrepreneurs as well as female led research teams with innovative ideas.
© Arijana Filipić (Microbiology) and Barbara Breznik (Oncology)
Women in biotechnology are just as capable as their male colleagues, but they often have to prove themselves by working harder and performing better. With the possibility of additional funding and visibility through funding schemes and awards for women in biotechnology in leadership positions, they could prove themselves with their work and compete with their male colleagues. This is because funding is the main obstacle, especially in science, for researchers to achieve excellent and innovative ideas and skills, regardless of gender. With dedicated funding, women would have the opportunity to realize their own ideas and pursue their visions in biotechnology.
In addition to funding and recognition of women, it is necessary to work on raising awareness of “the impostor syndrome” and “the Cinderella syndrome” that are consequence of upbringing and social views about the role of women in society that is ingrained in society. Ursula von der Leyen in Gender Equality strategy for 2020-2025 said: “We should not be shy about being proud of where we are or ambitious about where we want to go.”
Even though raising awareness is a crucial step in enabling better career progression and better representation of women in top management, the process is usually painfully slow. It’s hard to raise awareness when there’s nothing to show, and it’s even harder to show something when you do not have the opportunity or have different criteria from the start. Therefore, the introduction of fundings or awards specifically for women can be an important steppingstone that gives women in science the opportunity to show their abilities. The first step could be a crowdfunding platform that would specifically target biotech seed funding for female entrepreneurs as well as female led research teams with innovative ideas.
The results of such fundings/awards would show the undeniable competence of women in science and could open the doors to leadership positions are more research and business ideas funding. This could then influence and accelerate awareness and improvement of the overall status of women in science.