The future is female

Spring is arriving in South Korean and Ansan, the cherry flowers are in full bloom. Spring is telling us that new and brighter times are coming. A prosperous future awaits where all flowers get the opportunity to flourish. I am looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to a prosperous scientific community with diversity and inclusion.

I have a t-shirt that I use on selected occasions, it says “the future is female” in big bold letters. For me it means a future where men and women have the same opportunities and gender norms do not exist. I will dedicate this blog post today to women in research.

I am somewhat living in the female future already. My grandmother always tell me about her dreams to study when she was young and how her parents did not support it. She never got the opportunities that I have gotten, studying to get a PhD and visit a foreign university for six months. There is still however work to be done to reach an equal research community.

At my department, the department of Applied Physics and Electronics at Umeå Uiversity, females are and has always been a minority. In the undergraduate educations the mix between women and men are quite well balanced. For the PhD education it might be a bit higher representation of men, but still women are quite well represented. There is however no female professor and there has never been.

I can see this phenomenon at the office here at Hanyang Univeristy as well. The picture show me and my colleagues. You probably see my point. However, I am not here to pointing fingers, there are probably many possible explanations for this. But what efforts are being made to change this?

Role models are an important source of motivation and self-confidence – when people who are similar to ourselves do something incredible, we realize that we can do the same. A good idea would be a platform where female researchers are given the opportunity to be role models for undergraduate students and PhD students. A platform only dedicated to this matter.

This platform does not exist as far as I know, so I will help create a small platform here with some names of female researchers that I have had the opportunity to meet and that are role models for me. Anna Linusson, Britt Andersson, Johanna Björklund, Erika Sörensson and Maria Bengtsson. I can also recommend women.doing.science on Instagram. Please add your female role models within research in the comments below.

I feel like I have to write a disclaimer saying that I am extremely proud of my male coworkers and have a few role models among them as well. However, I am not writing about them today.

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