Welcome Notes

Dr Ursula Fuhrich Grubert

Central Women’s Representative of the Humboldt University Berlin

Dear conference members,

I am very pleased that a second ’I, Scientist’ conference is already taking place this year. I am convinced that this conference will also be a complete success and provide a good platform for orientation to young scientists.

How can you detect obstacles and break down gender barriers? Where are the female role models that inspire not only women? These are important questions that we ought to discuss at this year’s conference. Our current exhibition at Humboldt-University ’Portraits of Wise Women’ offers some interesting and inspiring insights. Forty-eight excellent female scientists of the past and present, who serve as role models, can encourage young women to embark on a scientific career.

The chosen triad ’gender – career paths – networking’ are important factors on the way to equal opportunity. Even if the Humboldt-University of Berlin with 23% female professors is above the federal average of 17.9% within the area of the STEM, we cannot sit back. The glass ceiling does not spare highly educated women. In return, we cannot forget men: they are more and more likely to be faced with prejudice when it comes to different forms of employment and the compatibility of family and work.

For the career path, strategic networking is one of the most important strategies. Being a good scientist is not enough. The influence of cooperation and networks is diverse. Only in combination with the right contacts will the path of a successful career become sustainable.

I wish you a wonderful conference that not only offers excellent presentations but also encourages networking.

Dr. Ursula Fuhrich-Grubert

Stephanie Bschorr

President of the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs

Dear participants,

your initiative I, Scientist represents what women in the economy need most for future success. The digital transformation provides enormous chances and economic growth potential. It will change our life and the conditions of work fundamentally. But women have yet to take part of that development equally. Women are extremely underrepresented in the information, communication and technology (ICT) sector. In the EU, out of 1000 women graduating, only 29 chose a further education in ICT. Out of these 29, only four are eventually active in the ICT sector.

This has to be changed. As all of you, the German Women entrepreneurs in the VdU are determined to change this. We want women to play a key role in the digital economy.

In order to strengthen women in the digital economy there are three main tasks that have to be undertaken.

The first one is to motivate more women and girls for STEM careers. We have to double our efforts in professional as well as in academic spaces. We have to advertise even more strongly for those careers and stress the chances and advantages that these jobs can offer. It’s just as simple as that: We need more women in this future branch of industry.

The second task is to start with early school education. Coding must become a natural school subject. And, very important in regard to girls, it should be established as a language rather than a physical science. That will make it, referring to all we know, much more attractive for girls.

The third action is being aware of unconscious biases. Artificial intelligence is often regarded as a gender-neutral solution Even though data is not automatically gender-neutral. In simple words: If you put trash in, you will only get trash out. We have to make sure that all unconscious biases will be eliminated to ensure gender equity in the digital transformation process.

For these tasks we all have to combine our efforts and work together. This conference and your initiative will surely give a strong support to women in the digital economy and in STEM careers. In the name of the German Women entrepreneurs I wish you all the best.