Organisation - March 31, 2017

New women’s network at WUR

Albert Sikkema

On 28 March, a group of fifty women scientists of WUR and NIOO gathered on campus for the first time to improve their position in science. With thanks to Donald Trump.

Photo: Guusje Koorneef

After the elections of the latest president of the United States of America, a group of American women scientists decided to unite in order to stand up for their interests. By now, the organisation, which is called 500 Women Scientists, has thousands of members in the USA. Kelly Ramirez, an American postdoc at the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO) in Wageningen, was present during the formation of this women’s network in the USA and introduced the organisation in Wageningen. Together with Ciska Veen, also a postdoc at NIOO, Guusje Koorneef, PhD candidate in Soil Quality at WUR, and Alet Leemans, project leader Gender Action Plan at WUR, Ramirez organised a formation meeting on 28 March in Atlas.

The goal of 500 Women Scientists is to improve the position and career opportunities of women in science. The group women want to utilise mutual expertise to come across better during job interviews and improve skills such as leadership and negotiating. Furthermore, the women’s network wants to act as a pool of valuable sparring partners and a source of inspiration. They also want to partake in the Science March that will take place on 22 April in various cities, including Washington DC and Amsterdam. During this march, the researchers will plead for empiric science, for instance into climate change.

A network for graduated women of the university already existed: the Vrouwennetwerk Wageningse Ingenieurs (Network for Wageningen University Alumni Women). The new women’s network is a bottom-up initiative, mainly aimed at women scientists in Wageningen on all rungs of the academic ladder.