On 26 June 2009, the participants of the EPWS Annual Conference “Scientific Culture, Communication, Gender – An Innovative Challenge for Women Scientists”, joined the delegates of the EPWS General Assembly 2009 in their call for immediate financial support to the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS by signing a resolution approved by the EPWS General Assembly in Brussels on 25 June 2009.
In view of the impending close-down of the EPWS Secretariat in Brussels, as a result of the current financial situation of the Platform, the signatories of the Resolution urge all responsible policy makers in the European Commission, the European Parliament and in the EU Member States to provide immediate financial support to EPWS to overcome the impasse created by existing financial structures and help to ensure the continuation of the acknowledged quality of the Platform’s work, fulfilling an identified public need and an explicit political goal of the European Lisbon Agenda.
The European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS in collaboration with Belgian Women in Science BeWiSe held its Annual Conference “Scientific Culture, Communication, Gender – An Innovative Challenge for Women Scientists” in Brussels on 25-26 June 2009, bringing together more than 80 scientists, representatives of European organisations of women researchers from all disciplines and policy makers from all over Europe.
First hand information on EU equal opportunities policies was conveyed by Luisa Prista, Head of Unit Scientific Culture and Gender Issues, and Virginija Langbakk, new Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality. In her keynote lecture “Knowing and Living in Research: Gender Dimensions of Science-in-the-making“, Prof. Dr. Ulrike Felt, Head Department of Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna, inspired a lively discussion on the gender impact of the less visible forces at work in everyday research such as prevailing concepts of career, mobility, competition and excellence. A poster exhibition highlighted EU funded (research) projects headed, managed or coordinated by women, action plans to promote equal opportunities and gender balance and the work of EPWS member networks and other networks to promote women scientists at national, regional and European level. A special visit to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) in Brussels, upon invitation by the Museum’s Directorate, provided the participants with a concrete example of science communication.
The conference aimed at encouraging women scientists to actively communicate and promote their research results using their specific communication abilities and making full use of their potential in this respect, thereby joining the – so far male dominated – ranks of those active in the field. Against this background, the current financial situation of the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS, one of the most powerful tools in the promotion of women in science in Europe, received prominent attention.
The conference participants noted the impending closure of the EPWS Secretariat in Brussels and the consequent cut in the Platform’s activities with dismay and spontaneously joined the EPWS General Assembly’s Resolution of 25 June 2009, urging all responsible policy makers in the European Commission, the European Parliament and in the EU Member States to provide immediate financial support to the Platform so that the successful work of EPWS at its present level can continue.