Interview of the Month: Team for Best Practices (05/2018)

Every month, for you, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.

Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here


Our member for May is the Polish association Team for Best Practices.

For Team for Best Practices, PhD Olga A. Kotowska-Wójcik, from Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Poland has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.

PhD Olga A. Kotowska-Wójcik, the coordinator of the Team for Best Practises

Contact this association:
Contact this member:
Association website / Facebook profile:


EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?

This is the team for women scientists, who are on the way to achieve their academic career progression and furthermore are mothers, usually of young children.


EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?

– Strengthening the role of women in science and especially in the Higher Education is one of our activity priorities. In our Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, we have four Deans and one of them is a woman.
– Promoting gender equality in research by pursuing three objectives in parallel: improving gender balance in decision-making, involving more women as scientists at all levels and integrating the gender dimension in research content;
– What we are aiming for is a change of culture and a modernization of universities and research institutions when it comes to Human Resources management, funding and decision-making;
– By helping women reach their full potential in science, technology and innovation, we include them and their ideas in enhancing growth, and creating more jobs and a better society;
– We would like to strengthen the links between science education and science careers;
– Through the reform and modernization of universities, the role of women in building a strong knowledge-based society will be reinforced. In this process, universities models of governance and decision-making, human resources management, accountability to society, social role and community engagement should be reviewed considering improving gender equality.
– We work on breaking down stereotypical representations of the research profession; we aim at fostering equal access of both sexes to all fields of science education and accommodating both men and women in the profession so that both sexes can develop a scientific career without being hindered by ‘glass ceilings’, ‘sticky floors’, or ‘glass walls’…
– Creating a career path that’s family friendly – Childcare is one of the most important major factors that block the career of many women.
– The reconciliation of private and professional life must be accommodated for both sexes. Gender de-stereotyping of educational fields and equal access to education in all fields for boys and girls are prerequisites.


EPWS: What is the history of the Team for Best Practices in a few words?

Team for Best Practices was created on November the 12-th 2013, by the decision of our Dean Dr. Hab. Tadeusz Kamiński. But the idea evolved from PhD Klaudia Śledzińska, from the seminars organized in study circle to the idea of cooperating team of women- scientists. At the beginning the members were only 7 women – mothers working at the Institute of Sociology, Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw.

After five years we tripled the number of cooperates and now have an international cooperation with the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS, and Universities in Lithuania, Romania and Latvia. Of course, we are opened on cooperation within Poland, and we have it with women from other Universities and institutions such as the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II.

We organized six conferences – about Social Inequities (November 2013) and second annual cycle of international conferences on Women in Science (8 May 2014, 25 March 2015, 12 May 2016, 4-5 April 2017, 24 April 2018).

We have also published reviewed monographs:
– K. Lendzion, O. Kotowska-Wójcik (red.), Waleczny duch kobiety. Społeczno-ekonomiczne aspekty ról kobiecych, Warszawa 2015. (The valiant spirit of women. Socio-economic aspects of feminine roles)
– M. Luty-Michalak, O. Kotowska-Wójcik, Społeczna odpowiedzialność jako podstawa osiągania zrównoważonego rozwoju, Warszawa 2016. (Social responsibility as a mile stone in achieving sustainable development)
– O. Kotowska-Wójcik, M. Luty-Michalak, (red.), Kobieta w przestrzeni publicznej. Dialog – praktyka – nauka, Warszawa 2017 (Women in public sphere. Dialogue – practice – science)


Women in Science session during the Vth International Scientific Conference on Women in Science entitled “Woman – science – society”


EPWS: Could you explain the organisation of your association?

We are not very strict about that, as our main goals are cooperation and mutual support. The basis is voluntary work and a will for cooperation. Of course, for the administrative reasons we have chosen our coordinator (I am privileged to do it); my Deputy is PhD Marta Luty-Michalak; we have also chosen the coordinator on international cooperation (PhD Martyna Kawińska).
We have an open formula for the ones that would like to work on our projects, on their own ones while they need support, mentoring or just someone to discuss with.

We are cooperating mainly via ICT tools, but we have our meetings and annual reports about what we have achieved, what we are working on.

EPWS: What are its recent achievements?

Thanks to our annual cycle of conference on Women in Science, we are having a strong cooperation with Women scientists from Lithuania, and we are just about setting the bilateral agreement on cooperation between our places of work: Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw and the Faculty of Communication at Vilnius University.

On April 24th we had the anniversary and fifth edition of our annual conferences – entitled this year: Woman – science – society, with more than 45 speakers from Poland, Lithuania, USA, Germany, Hungary, etc.
In March I had an opportunity to make a study visit to the Lithuanian Social Research Centre (LSRC), a public research institute that carries out fundamental and applied social research.

EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?

We are working on the fourth scientific, revised monograph, applying for Norway grants, and preparing the next year conference on Women in Science: Femininity and masculinity – an approach towards complementarity. Interdisciplinary perspective (Spring 2019)

EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?

After the EPWS Berlin General Assembly in 2015 we have had a strong cooperation with Lithuania: with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dalia Šatkovskienė we have applied for the H2020 with the GEPERA project, „Gender Equality Strategies for Modernization of Research Organizations in the Baltic States”, SwafS-03-2016-2017: „Support to research organizations to implement gender equality plans”, in which the participants are10 scientific institutions from: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Poland. But we are open to wider cooperation.

EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?

It has already been done! The patronage of EPWS on our annual cycle of conferences on Women in Science is making a huge international promotion, and due to the contacts from the EPWS website and meetings we were able to start our international cooperation, that now only needs to be strengthened by setting up new projects for example.


Favourite LINKS


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,