Here I am back again in freezing cold Vienna attending this year’s EGU conference. Last time I was here was 2007 and much has changed since then. There is for example an EGU app with continuous program updates, registration is simple and quick, some short talks are streamed, and most impressively, the EGU Program Committee of 45 persons now includes 12 women, which is about 25%! Also when it comes to the different program group chairs and science officers, women now make up around 25%. But unfortunately among the chairpersons of the different groups, the number of women reaches less than 20%. It would be great to see the numbers for women increase to 50% by next year’s meeting!
EGU also distributes a number of medals each year. A quick glance at the list of those who were awarded a medal this year, are 29 men and 3 women. This is actually much less than 25%! Does this mean that there are so many more highly qualified male scientists compared to female scientists who deserve to be awarded a medal? Or, does this mean that male (and female) scientists suggested male scientists without reflecting about the possibility of nominating women? Since I have no idea how the process works, I can only speculate that the same old principles also govern this process, i.e. a little bit of too little reflection and a larger bit of you’re my buddy thinking.
The Earth Science Women’s Network had a session this afternoon at EGU and had invited Mira Bar-Mathews (one of three women who was awarded a medal this year) and me for lectures. The topic of the talks was different aspects of networking, but apart from this we had all the freedom we wanted to pull together, what ever we wanted.
It was not easy to prepare this talk and I really struggled with what I should talk about. Should I talk about myself, my career, my research, and/or my networks? Do I have networks at all? I had no idea how to start and on what to focus. But when I began to browse through my picture library, the story became a bit clearer: I decided to focus on what I had done during the past 38 years and in the end I had assembled more than 40 slides with loads of (what I thought were) beautiful pictures. This was of course far too much for a 20 minutes talk! In the end I managed to cut down my last 38 years into 22 slides.
In case someone wants to have a look at the slides, here they are!
EGU – ESWN 2013 talk 7 April