Naturally, we also had a few remarks on negative experiences of women in research. Interestingly enough, all rather negative remarks came from women with full professorships (6 in all, some long answers were counted in more than one category): those are women who've made it right to the top. With their comments, they write about the things they see around them, or they remember their earlier experiences. One member wrote us about 'entrenched prejudice' in academia in the UK, and that she mostly tries "to ignore it and just get on with the work," but she finds it "intrusive and frustrating".
Now we shouldn't assume that our younger members don't encounter prejudice or 'harassment', as a French member put it. But they apparently try to ignore it as well, and probably don't want to say anything negative about the academic system in their respective countries. Of course, comments like that certainly make us ponder on gender equality in science. But if there were no problems, AcademiaNet would never have been necessary in the first place. So as long as women face gender discrimination, or don't set out to have a academic career in the first place, we need initiatives to make excellent female researchers more visible, and to connect them better.
(Free download of the AcademiaNet brochure in PDF format here)
So theoretically, if we waited about 35 years, women would hold just as many top science positions as men. But the downside of this approach would be: The majority of today's excellent female researchers would come away empty-handed – we cannot accept that, and we all need to work hard to accelerate this development.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who holds a PhD in physics and was the keynote speaker at the AcademiaNet launch five years ago, sent her congratulations in a video-message (German with English subtitles):