For the sixth year running, CERN is celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. From 7 to 11 February 2022, female scientists and engineers are visiting local schools to talk to the pupils about their professions, with the aim of showing the role of women in science and potentially inspiring young girls to envision their future job in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. At CERN, participation in this event is organised by the Visits & Exhibitions service, with the support of CERN’s Women in Technology network.
Gender equality, and more generally diversity, are key to the best possible science, which is why CERN launched the Diversity and Inclusion programme’s 25 by ’25 strategy, which is the first ever target-based strategy to boost gender and nationality diversity within the staff and fellows population (MPE, for employed members of the personnel). At CERN, an average of 21.41%* of the MPE are women. The goal of the 25 by ’25 strategy is to reach 25% by 2025.
CERN’s Women in Technology (WIT) network is an informal group that was spontaneously born at the beginning of 2016: a few women working in STEM had appreciated the WIT community in their universities and could not find a similar organisation at CERN, or even in Geneva, so they created it!
In six years, CERN’s WIT has brought to life plenty of activities: WIT Talks are interviews with women in leading roles at CERN, in industry or in academia; WIT Diversity Talks are interviews with senior male colleagues on their experiences and thoughts on gender diversity and gender balance; WIT Drinks are an opportunity for networking among women from different experiments and departments at CERN; lectures and movie screenings are organised in liaison with other organisations, companies or CERN services; and WIT Mentoring offers an opportunity for younger women to work on their personal development with a CERN or CERN Alumni mentor.
The WIT Mentoring Programme is now running for the 5th year and will soon call for mentees and mentors for the 2022 exercise, beginning in May and ending in December. The call for applications for mentees and mentors will be available on the WIT website at the beginning of March and an informative session will be held on 25 February.
Mentees benefit from the support of a senior colleague or CERN alumna with extensive experience and good knowledge of the Organization and/or of workplaces outside the Laboratory. They can find a confidential space where guidance is offered to improve self-confidence, self-advocacy, critical thinking and many other skills. The programme is open to anyone with a clear motivation to work on their personal and professional development.
Mentors benefit from the support of the WIT mentoring team, consisting of informative sessions, resources and online seminars, guidance and reminders throughout the mentoring exercise. Being a mentor is extremely rewarding and improves many soft skills, such as active listening, communication, coaching, analysis and problem solving, building on structured thinking – but unlike a training course, mentoring helps assimilate these skills into “muscle memory”!
For more details about WIT Mentoring, do not hesitate to visit the webpage: https://wit-hub.web.cern.ch/mentoring/ or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Latest available statistics, as at 31.12.2020. Click here to consult the 2020 CERN personnel statistics.