But why is it so? Why are there so few women in Western society pursuing scientific careers? Recently, a lot of research has tried to shed light on the main reasons for such discrepancies, finding various motivations (Corbett et al., 2015). Isolation, lack of role models and no sense of belonging, perception of the working place as competitive and hostile, unconscious and/or implicit biases driven by stereotypes, and incompatibility between the demands of work responsibilities and family life. All these causes often push women to choose family over work. Biases are still present also in the evaluation process, affecting the chances of a woman of getting a position.
To what extent does each of these factors play a role? What do female scientists think about that? What's their experience? Now is the time to listen to their voices and their stories.
In recent times, the number of female students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has increased significantly, bringing to an almost equal representation of both sexes in the student body. Also, in media and previously dominated male fields, women occupy now a larger space. All of a sudden, it seems that the possibility for women to affirm themselves is open and walkable. But is it so?
Despite the appearance, the presence of women in leading roles has not changed that much.
The percentage of women currently working in leading positions in academia is much lower than the corresponding number of men. However, this trend is not following the tendency observed in the student body up to the Ph.D. level (see Figure 1 for the University of Cologne).
Women are still strongly underrepresented in high-level positions, and data show that there’s still a gender gap, which needs to be filled.
we interview women of different nationalities and ages and at different career stages. We will support our work with statistical data from the University of Cologne and Nina Steinweg’s group at GESIS-Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences, Cologne.
The work will be directed by the professional video maker Valeria Lo Meo. She will connect science and art. Creativity is a fundamental element of scientific activity. Each scientist, before being a scientist, is a human being. None of his/her successes in work based on scientific knowledge would be achieved without an emotional strength pushing him/her to overcome their difficulties.
Luciano Perbellini will work as photo director together with Valeria Lo Meo. He has been photo director for some documentaries and video performance art with 37 participations in international festivals in 12 different countries.
We collaborate with Department 81 Press and Communication of the University of Cologne (Adam Polczyk) and with Mr. Fabio Magnifico, teacher of INTERMEDIA from the media didactic and pedagogic department (group of Prof. Hugger). We plan:
for students of multimedia to benefit from the decade-long experience of Valeria Lo Meo and Luciano Perbellini.
We want to highlight the openness of University of Cologne to the most diverse women and the career possibilities that our university offers. For this reason, we picked international women who work at University of Cologne and who have very different cultures and backgrounds, and we show them at work in the university structures. The movie will be entirely filmed in Cologne, to highlight the welcoming and friendly environment that the university offers.
We wan to achieve a wide diffusion. We chose the short video format, and we plan to spread it on internet channels as well as in high schools, and to participate in Video Documentary Festivals. To achieve this goal, we established a strong cooperation with the Department 81 Press and Communications of the University of Cologne.