Women in Science: students explore the place of women in the scientific world

Friday, 15 January 2021

IFS science students met with female scientists to raise awareness of the possibilities open for girls in pursuit of careers in the STEM fields.


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Thirty IFS students, (from grade 9 to grade 12) were fortunate to participate in this unique event, whose purpose was to highlight successful women evolved in the scientific fields. A privileged moment for our young budding female scientists, the session was rich in testimonies, inspiration and exchanges with professional women scientists. 

In particular were present: Isabelle Vauglin, member of the CNRS, (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), and researcher in astrophysics. Also presenting were other experts from the scientific world. Among the speakers were professional women at Google and FrenchTech start-ups, e.g. BeeBryte.  The students also spoke with researchers from NUS’s, (National University of Singapore) scientific departments, and large French companies, e.g. Engie and Sanofi-Pasteur. 

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For their part, many female students, still working through their courses of studies, could also share their experiences and their future career aspirations.

The event took place in two stages. First, Isabelle Vauglin (CNRS) shared her vision of women’s place in the scientific world. The second part of the event took place as round-table conversations in small groups and by videoconference, chaired by the visiting mentors.  The round-table discussions enabled our students to discuss, ask questions and be inspired by the presented career opportunities.

Isabelle Vauglin explained that while girls represent 48% of Terminal S, (in France in 2019), only 12% of graduates were female in the scientific sectors and pursuing engineering studies. Ms Vauglin clarified that girls represent only 27% of engineering school staff and according to her, only 1 in 5 engineers is a woman.

This astrophysicist working at the Lyon research centre reassured us: “women play an important role in society and in science”. She also reminded us of the importance of gender diversity in all scientific research projects in order to obtain better results.

Our students, seeking practical information about the lengths, complexity and details of such studies, were enlightened by our speakers. They reminded them that such journeys are much easier for women today than they were in their time. 

Our students learned the importance of following their passions and interests, keeping a curious mindset, and identifying their favourite educational topics. All these women underlined and reminded the IFS students that two-thirds of tomorrow’s jobs do not exist today, and the next generation is still framing the design of such new positions.

Through this event, IFS wanted to make its students aware of the different types of education and careers in scientific fields. Some of which could lead to promising professions and rewarding careers in the future.

To learn more about IFS university and career guidance, click here>