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Round-table lunch meeting on September 26th 2019

On the 26th September of 2019, the Halkes Women Faculty Network organized our first lunch meeting of the 2019-2020 academic year.

During this meeting, different tables discussed the following topics:

  • Career and life planning
  • Mentorship: how to be or find a mentor
  • Imposter syndrome

With these discussions, we hoped to gather new perspectives on these issues and find solutions to problems often faced by women in academia.

Some of the table moderators summarized the discussion at their table:

Career and life planning

"We enjoyed exchanging experiences between different generations, varying from PhD candidates that just started to assistant and associate professors with a permanent contract. We found each other in that we all want to make a difference with our research and education. We learned that it is sometimes necessary to dare taking risks to stay true to our motivations. We have to see our worth as it is in a context where we not always feel that is recognized." - Inge Bleijenbergh

"I really enjoyed how the people at my table immediately opened up and shared their stories. They were all rather different stories, but all shared the issue that junior researchers (PhD candidates and post-docs) in academia can't predict their future career path and life path. People were struggling to combine their personal and professional lives with such a lack of stability and predictability. The possible tips we identified were 1) to speak to others who may be in similar situations and exchange thoughts and experiences with members from your network; 2) to reflect and identify what is important to you (instead of to society, to your community, or to your supervisor/team members) and identify your own priorities in order to figure out what steps to take and what path to follow." - Marisha Manahova


"Sometimes it’s difficult to handle people that claim to be your mentor while you feel they are not. If talking to them is not possible, try to care less about what they advice and focus more on what your true goals are. Also, mentorship does not need to be a formal thingy with regular meetings but can be a one time thing: just ask the colleague you think can help with a certain problem; often they are happy to help." - Barbara Müller

Imposter syndrome

"Everyone at our table had had experiences of imposter syndrome. A large part of our discussion was about whether, and how, to talk about it. Some people are hesitant about openly vulnerable, because they fear it will be experienced as inadequacy. However, most people agreed that talking about imposter syndrome is the best way to treat imposter syndrome, as, by talking about it, you find out how common it is amongst competent people." - Ella Bosch, Halkes Network chair