ESOF2022 session: The Chair: Fact or Fiction?
Addressing the challenges faced by women leaders in academia#

Online session: Saturday 16th July 2022 13.15pm-14.30 UK
Theme: Off the beaten track: new paths for Academic Careers

Academia Europeae Cardiff Knowlege Hub is delighted to be participating at this year’s EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) conference, the largest biennial interdisciplinary meeting on science and innovation in Europe.

About our session at ESOF2022#

The popular Netflix series The Chair, shows overtly stereotypical characters in a conventional academic setting. The protagonist is the first female Chair of the department, as well as the youngest, and the first person of colour. In addition, she is trying to achieve a work-life balance as a single mother to a young child. The show deals with her struggles as she tries to bring about positive transformation, in a department that is failing but where many colleagues are resistant to change, and real power rests elsewhere in the College.

The show is satirical, and is meant to entertain; but how far is this comedy-drama from reality? And, if it really is true, at least in part, what are we to do to create a brighter future for women aspiring to fulfilling academic careers and leadership positions, as well as an effective work-life balance? The format of our session is to capture the real-life experiences of our panellists and audience, interspersed with clips from the Netflix show (subject to obtaining permissions). Beginning with brief real-life stories from our panelists (15 minutes), we will then hear a short presentation (10 minutes) on the meaning and consequences of the ‘Glass Cliff’ that can affect women in leadership positions. We will conclude with practical solutions for achieving real change. This will feature two active cases drawn from nine Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) across nine Southern and Eastern European countries. The GEPs have been developed within the context of CALIPER, a European-funded project on gender equality in STEM fields, aiming at achieving structural changes in the research and innovation sector.

The whole session will be informal, and fully open to participant discussion (allowing around half of the session for interaction). Throughout, we aim to increase awareness, in an inclusive and accessible manner, of the gender biases that continue to pervade academia, and to develop ways forward to achieve change. Gender inequality, including unconscious bias, need to be addressed to allow the full participation of society in science, and science in society.

The speakers#

  • Dr Susanne Täuber, Associate Professor & Rosalind Franklin Fellow, University of Groningen
  • Professor Moniek Tromp, Vice-Chair, Young Academy of Europe
  • Professor Mangala Srinivas, Wageningen University
  • Dr Sara Aguirre-Sánchez-Beato, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Marcelo Mora, IRB Barcelona
  • Session Chair: Dr Gemma Modinos, Chair, Young Academy of Europe

About the webinar#

This session is co-organised by CALIPER, the Young Academy of Europe and Academia Europaea, as part of ESOF2022.


ESOF2022 is a hybrid conference with many ways to participate. You can join onsite, in the beautiful city of Leiden, and/or you can join online using the virtual conference platform and mobile app. Please click here to register for ESOF 2022.

See also: Leiden European City of Science 2022


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