Monday, June 22, 2009

Notes From a Workshop

I attended a workshop in France last month, and I made some interesting observations from a gender balance point of view.

Out of 40 participants, 7 were women. (18%)
Out of 17 invited speakers, 1 was a woman. (6%)
Out of 7 contributed talks, 1 was a woman. (14%)
Out of 4 posters, 4 were by women. (100%)

I was probably the most senior woman there, at 5 years past PhD. I believe most of the women were students.

You might say that it's all small number statistics, but this is all in keeping with the trend that students entering grad school in the physical sciences are approaching parity, but numbers at higher levels have yet to equalize.

It's interesting that all but one of the women made a presentation at this conference. Also, 4 of us work on young stars. (This was a multi-disciplinary workshop.)

Some other interesting anecdotes:

- When I was introduced, I was called "Hans" at first. When the other woman speaker was introduced, she was called by a male name at first, too.

- One night, when a group of us stayed up late talking, we looked around and realized that all the women were present.

- Europeans students and postdocs are just as, if not more, worried about future job prospects as anyone in the US.