Building a functioning network like the ETH WPF is resource-intensive – how did you manage to successfully develop it?

Being in a position like this – a woman professor in higher education – is an important prerequisite. Also crucial is a successful career, with excellent research – which I’ve always concentrated on. I recommend to f irst prove yourself as a scientist be for engaging in gender equality issues as a woman in a male domain.
The Swiss National Science Foundation’s National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCR) has provide d an ideal framework for this. Over a period of twelve years, both scientific and outreach goals are targeted. As Director of one of these centers – NCCR MUST – I received resources specifically for outreach projects on gender equality. My dream would be to raise the proportion of women professors at ETH Zurich to at least thirty percent. I’m convinced that the existing ten percent of women professors can help to achieve this goal. With personnel support from an expert coordinator ( full - time position), we brought together a group of successful and established women professors and agreed to found the ETH WPF. A key success factor here was the participation of dedicated women professors in the founding committee. However these efforts are not going to benefit us personally as senior women professors – on the contrary, they could actually be detrimental. Sheryl Sandberg was once asked whether she really wanted to jeopardize her career by publishing her book  When you’ve spent years building your career, successfully ignoring women’s issues, and proved that you can also make it as a woman, then it’s a reasonable question to ask. In the private sector, I would think twice about pursuing an initiative like this. But women professors with a secure, tenured position are well positioned to address these issues. And as professors with educational and career development responsibilities, we even have a duty to do so. Since my career is well-established – and my children are adults now - it is a good time for me to address these issues. Some would postpone projects like this until they’re no longer working  However, I’m convinced that when you’ve retired – given the duration of this kind of project – you’re left with too little time and potentially too little influence.
NCCR MUST Office : ETHZ IQE/ULP-HPT H3 | Auguste-Piccard-Hof 1 | 8093 Zurich | E-Mail | +41 44 633 36 02
The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation