March 8 – International Women’s Day – #breakthebias

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is #breakthebias. Unconscious bias still has major impact on the careers of women in Science, from bias in student evaluations to bias in the attraction and recognition of female talent. Unconscious bias is unintentional, but does affect everyday decision making. To break the bias it essential that everybody is aware of their biases. Only then we can be a truly diverse and inclusive research institute. Want to know your own biases? Take a test:

On International Women’s Day Leiden University celebrates the achievements of women together with two members of the Executive Board, President Annetje Ottow and Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl. RISE was of course also there and actively participated in the meeting!

What can we learn from the experiences of female colleagues who are the first to reach top positions within the university? What questions and dilemmas do women face in pursuing a career in universities today? These were questions that were discussed. Annetje and Hester shared their personal experiences and strategies and in small real break-out rooms at the Faculty Club the participants reflected on topics including leadership and career, the work-life balance, self-care and empowerment. The meeting was aimed to foster connection and contribute to the forming of networks of solidarity and support within the university.

Take home messages from the meeting:

  • “Leadership is what we do”
  • “Think and communicate about own ambitions”
  • “Find your buddys and people that believe in you”
  • “Always have a plan B”
  • “Be independent. Do not let others determine what you do”
  • And perhaps most importantly, “Praise each other!



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