«We have succeeded in anchoring the topic of equal opportunities at various levels in the institution.»
Natalie Lerch-Pieper, Equal Opportunities Officer
«Above all, we have also succeeded in anchoring the topic of equal opportunities at various levels in the institution and creating the necessary structures,» Lerch-Pieper explains. «We sensitise staff and new managers to where gender bias might play a role and how we can counteract it. » It is also a great advantage for Eawag that, with Gabriele Mayer, Tove Larsen and Director Janet Hering, three of the seven members of the Directorate are female, says Lerch-Pieper. Women often cultivate more female networks than men. «The so-called glass ceiling effect is partly due to the fact that women are not promoted because they are not considered in male-dominated networks.»
In order to promote women in a targeted manner, Eawag is also involved in the ETH Domain’s «Fix the Leaky Pipeline» programme. Young female scientists who aspire to a research career receive support in the form of course, mentoring and coaching offers to actively plan their career and expand their network. The CONNECT programme, in which Eawag participates, builds bridges to industry, the private sector and public-sector institutions in order to open up this career path – with a strong emphasis on female scientists.
And women are actually predestined to be bridge builders, says Kathrin Fenner, Group Leader at Eawag and professor at the University of Zurich: «Often, women scientists balance many different demands in their lives,» she says. «I think this gives them the insight and foresight to cultivate good science and scholarship for the benefit of all.»