On the last day of January women researchers from various fields, who are members of the European Platform of Women Scientists (EPWS), gathered to the European Parliament in Brussels. They were brought together, with the invitation from MEP Leonidas Donskis, for the debate entitled "Towards a Gender-Balanced Science Culture to Foster Innovation."
More than half a hundred women from many European countries, including Lithuania, gathered to the European Parliament. They are united by the EPWS organisation, whose goal is to promote equal gender opportunities in all fields of education and empower women in the European education policy.
This event aimed at starting a dialogue which would increase involvement of women in European science policy-making, informing MEPs, officials from the European Commission and representatives from international or European organisations about the European science culture, putting emphasis on the situation of women scientists. During the debates participants were provided with information on the current situation and possible instruments fostering a gender-balanced science culture.
"Although the conditions to reveal the potential of women in science and culture emerged relatively recently, this potential is no longer doubted. However, it is still a long way to go to actually establish this attitude in science policy and everyday academic work," said Leonidas Donskis in his welcoming remarks.
The MEP illustrated the situation by presenting women scientists` situation in Lithuania, where there is a large number of women students and scientists, who are very rarely working as heads of educational institutions or universities. Mr Gilles Laroche, Head of the Unit for Gender and Ethics in the European Commission DG Research and Innovation, supported L. Donskis` arguments by presenting statistics on the decreasing percentage of women, while the level of positions at organisations increase.
During the debates different scientific research projects of EPWS were presented, and discussions with MEP Edit Herczog from Hungary and Britta Thomsen from Denmark took place.
The European Platform of Women Scientists (EPWS) is an international non-governmental organisation uniting around 100 networks of women scientists and 12000 members.