Starting our adventure on EuroScientist, we would like to present organisation which is our home and our tool to make a change in polish higher education system and science.
How did it start?
The idea to start our work appeared few years ago, quite spontaneously. It had taken some time before the non-profit organisation was established, but the impulse to take action emerged when a certain level of frustration was exceeded. We are all aware, that the situation of female researchers is not easy. Statistics clearly show that there is a visible disparity in the percentage of women with higher academic title, and even fewer women manage to take leadership positions in academic institutions. The situation is slightly different depending on the field, but is not optimistic in general. This is not caused by lower abilities, skills or creativity of women, but by social and cultural barriers. When, however, we can hear again that a woman can make a career in science only when supported by a wealthy husband, or by her parents, we felt it was time to act. Time to break traditional “Polish” mentality and continuous complaining. We noticed that Poland yard lacks an organization that would focus on positive actions to promote the achievements of Polish female researchers, and to create a place where we can inspire one other.
Foundation Women Scientists – Polish Women Scientists Network since 2012 has been working for women – researchers and scientists in Poland. It focuses on actions promoting the achievements of Polish female researchers, creating conditions for mutual inspiration, networking and scientific cooperation. The Foundation undertakes activities aimed at developing and strengthening the idea of equality, with particular emphasis on eliminating the differences in terms of promotion and professional careers of women and men.
Who we are?
The organizational founding team consists of women scientists representing the area of social sciences. Our experience related to academic research (new media, communication, PR and marketing) constituted a catalyst for the initiative. We reached the conclusion that if we deal with communication, promotion and exploring the internet, we should use our expertise in social activities. We decided that thanks to the possibilities offered by new technology, regardless of the distance, we can mutually support our initiatives and projects, and promote Polish female researchers at every stage of their careers.
In this post we only mention our flagship projects, in details we will write in some future posts. The one of flagship project of the Foundation is the contest “Innovation is a Woman” (right now we are preparing 7th edition). Under this heading, the Foundation organises the competition addressed to female researchers, who develop innovative ideas or introduce new solutions. It is one of the forms used by the Foundation to promote the achievements of the women in science and research. The winning solutions are presented at international exhibitions and innovations fairs (Russia, Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic etc.). The winners and the participants of the contest have gained dozens of medals and awards during these international events. Another Foundation’s initiative is the project “The voice of women counts”, which part was the creation of the “Ekspertki.org” database of female experts (women scientists, specialists of different areas), whose expertise and experience could support media debate, the third sector and public authorities. This is not only in response to the dominance of male experts in public sphere, but above all, it is a way of promotion of Polish women’s scientific and professional knowledge and experience. The project was created in cooperation with the Stanisław Brzozowski Association and received funding under the programme “Citizens for Democracy” under European Economic Area Financial Mechanism.
We hope that we intrigue you with our brief presentation. Soon we disclose you more 🙂 We will try to emphasise the strength and the weaknesses of Polish higher education system and science, and why gender perspective is so important. Stay tuned!
Marta du Vall & Justyna Wojniak from Polish Women Scientists Network