Posted on: 5th March 2012

The eighth of March is recognised in many places as International Women’s Day. What does that mean to the women working in EFDA and JET?

“A celebration of the equality road in which all the women live due to our condition and a memory of all the women that opened the path in the past with their way of life.” – Ana Manzanares

“I’d like to share the information that there are 9% to 15% (depending on the sources) of women in our field. My wish for the future is for a much more equilibrated ratio.” – Clarisse Bourdelle

“Something I have at heart is the fact that women and men should just be equals when it comes to combining work and raising kids. Most of the governments do not encourage men to take some time off work to look after their kids, on the same grounds as women! Why not? Just give the administrative frame for the mums and dads to choose!” – Marie-Line Mayoral

“On the 8th of March I enjoy and celebrate the achievements of the many women and men that brought us this far towards equality. Largely women and men are still not treated equally in society, at work or in the home. I believe most discrimination is subconscious, so we have to educate ourselves to spot it, and correct it.” – Emilia Solano

“I will always remember my first international workshop, in my PhD years, where a leading (male) scientist opened the meeting with ‘Good morning gentlemen’ then stopped, stared at me, and added ‘hum, good morning lady and gentlemen’. …. Actually, I don’t think I have been confronted to any discriminative behaviour in my career so far, and have always enjoyed working in mixed teams, a feeling generally shared by my (male and female) colleagues.” – Emanuelle Tsitrone

“Being part of science is like a dream that came true, and a way to try to explain the world surrounding us” – Paula Belo

“Working in science as a woman is great – when I was a student, my female friends used to envy me for meeting so many guys all the time. At work, I noticed that we ladies have a lot more visibility – people remember us more easily, because we stick out from the masses. I remember a technology workshop in Finland with only one other lady beside me. I noticed that a sauna was planned in the evening. I am German and in Germany saunas are mixed gender….. I was new in this job and did not really know anyone well enough to ask what to expect…Boy, was I relieved when my Finnish colleague told me that saunas in Finland are separate for men and women…In the end I had a whole big sauna just to myself…” – Christine Rueth

“My wish is that every single woman in the world should be able to enjoy a life as a individual, mother, wife and employee if she is willing to do so.” – Joelle Vallory

“Women, you don’t have to prove anything today! Enjoy the day!” – Kasia Jakubowska

“Science per se is neutral but, on the other hand, science has not happened in a vacuum. In the last decades science has increasingly become a collective enterprise and when large groups of people are involved, as in JET, in my opinion women can contribute with some special talents such as tolerance, flexibility and cooperative spirits.” – Michela Gelfusa

“I have always regarded myself as a ‘person’ first of all, and so I have regarded all my colleagues, most of them men. However, in my long professional experience, I have seen that when methods are applied other than those based on merit and transparency, discrimination occurs …. and not necessarily against women only.” – Paola Batistoni

“I usually don’t think much about International Women’s day. But I’m genuinely grateful to all women who have been fighting for equal rights in Europe. Their courage and passion has allowed me to choose an academic career. Looking at other continents the situation of women is not as good as ours. I wish them the energy and endurance to get what they deserve. ” – Petra Nieckchen

“I feel lucky to live in a part of the world where I get an education and can choose what I want to do because lots of women have already trodden the same path.” – Emma Wooldridge

“I am personally convinced that being a woman in the world of fusion is profitable. I think positive discrimination might have helped in my career to reach the actual position. I am confident that women often have a different or unconventional approach to science as well as relational skills that may be truly beneficial in driving a project.” – Gloria Falchetto