On 27 January 2018, the French association Mnémosyne, association for the development of women’s history and gender history, invited EPWS for a common conference day on «Women conquering Science» in Paris. Hopefully, this event is the first one of a series that will allow Mnémosyne’s and EPWS’ respective networks to further intersect in the future.
The Annual General assembly of Mnémosyne took place in the morning and ended with the Mnémosyne 2017 award announcement: it was attributed to Camille Dejardin for her master dissertation on “Madame Blakey, une femme entrepreneure au XVIIIème siècle” (Madame Blakey, a Woman Entrepreneur in the 18th century).
In the afternoon two roundtables informed and debated on « Women conquering Science ». The first session about Mobilisations and networks: today, moderated by Myriam Boussahba-Bravard (Mnemosyne, historian), gave the floor to three women scientists, the EPWS President and two French EPWS full members, Yvonne Pourrat for ECEPIE (Equal opportunities for women and men in engineering studies and careers in Europe) and Laurence Broze, the President of femmes et mathématiques (Women and Mathematics). In turn, they explained the circumstances of the creation of their associations, 15 years ago for ECEPIE and 30 years ago for femmes et mathématiques; their current campaigns, actions and objectives, a few reached, and what EPWS is bringing to their association.
The second round table of the afternoon on Circulations and knowledge: a history was composed of 4 historians; one of them, Dominique Picco (modern history, University Bordeaux-Montaigne), moderated the session. Madalina Dana (Greek history, University Panthéon-Sorbonne), Marie-Elisabeth Henneau (modern history, University of Liège, Belgium), Anna Cabanel (PhD student in contemporary history, Leuven University, Norway) started to evoke when and how they had met female scientific knowledge and women. Then they discussed their training at a period lacking formal training and female independence from social prescriptions. Finally, they confronted the modalities of circulating scientific knowledge among women, but also with scientific men. All emphasized the (positive or negative) role of the family, the one of networks, but also the social and scientific obstacles to sharing knowledge.
This event, in which associations of women scientists, engineers and historians fruitfully exchanged their activist experience and shared a historical perspective, was a concretization of EPWS multidisciplinary open-mindedness.
Myriam Boussahba-Bravard (Mnémosyne), Claudine Hermann (EPWS) and Dominique Picco (Mnémosyne).