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First Round-table Lunch Meeting 2019!

On Tuesday January 29, over 50 women researchers joined our round-table lunch meeting. We had interesting and inspiring discussions about being valued for your work, female role models, imposter syndrome and scientific harassment. Below, you can find short summaries of the discussions per theme.

Being valued for your work:

We discussed that many of us work very hard, make extra hours, come to the university on their days off and do important organizational citizenship work, while we feel that is not recognized nor sufficiently rewarded. Especially when you are in temporary position, the need to invest seems endless. On the contrary the room to stand up for your own needs seems limited because this room has to bargained with colleagues and supervisors who also assess us and decide about a follow up or permanent position. We found out that appreciation of our work may be communicated differently to us than we expect and that many others are in the same position. Speaking out our needs and organizing time and space to work on research are good strategies. And we have to take good care of ourselves, since if we don’t, who will do it for us?

Female role models

We discussed what you are you looking for in a role model. Participants look for someone to learn from and in particular someone with a good work life balance. They also look for someone who is transparent in failure as well as in success. And who combines attention for wellbeing and keeping up with the academic life.

Than we discussed who is an important role model for you? Participants failed to have important and helpful female role models in science. The recognize difficulties in working in science as a woman, meeting prejudices and stereotypes. Women often have the feeling they have to choose between being a mother and being a scientist. Being both still seems a kind of taboo. A role model would be somebody who is combining these things in a successful way.

Participants discussed in what respect they are a role model themselves. Staying yourself is important, giving good examples (e.g. not e-mailing in the weekend) and actively addressing gender issues as well.

Imposter Syndrome

Our discussion on imposter syndrome in academia was extremely fruitful and supportive. We touched upon the many faces of imposter syndrome we experienced, ranging from feeling weary to apply for jobs at all to feeling accolades were unearned. Among the practical tools to combat feeling like a fraud was the suggestion to actively remind yourself of your strengths, for which keeping a list of compliments received may be helpful.

Scientific Harassment

During the round-table discussion on scientific harassment (behaviors that hinder or sabotage another’s scientific career development), many people talked about experiences they had with scientific harassment. For example, people were denied the authorship or author position that they deserved. How often scientific harassment happens is not clear, because most cases go unreported because people worry about damage to work relationships, fear repercussions, or lack faith that making a report will make a difference. Most participants were not aware of the opportunity to make anonymous complaints to union organization or the RU confidential advisors (see also the link below). Doing so will help shed light on how widespread scientific harassment is. In addition, participants felt that colleagues of perpetrators, significantly senior officials, too often turn a blind eye, and long for a shift in culture. Scientific harassment should no longer be tolerated and more and earlier action should be taken against perpetrators.

The ‘Klachtenregeling Ongewenst Gedrag’ can be found here (unfortunately, only available in Dutch):  https://www.radboudnet.nl/onderwijs/werkwijze-regelingen/vm/klachtenregeling-ongewenst-gedrag/