GenderInSITE formally launched its report on “Pathways to Success: Bringing a Gender Lens to the Scientific Leadership of Global Challenges” at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on 11 March 2019. Prof Linda Waldman, one of the lead authors, gave an overview of the report’s major findings, stressing its focus on successes.
The report seeks to understand how some women have made it through to senior leadership positions in global science, despite there being no clear signposting for them to navigate their way. Their pathways to success could assist others seeking to follow in their footsteps.
Six key themes emerged. These are:
- Commitment – all the women interviewed spoke about a drive to use science in the service of humanity and to make a difference in the world;
- Refusing to back down – they had a belief that they could overcome all obstacles;
- Mentoring and role modelling – all the women stressed the importance of mentoring by both men and women and have committed to mentor others;
- Developing skills to exercise leadership – they each developed their own leadership style, which tended to be collaborative and participatory;
- Networks – the role of partnerships and networks, both formal and informal, was stressed;
- Reshaping organisational cultures – as they became leaders they have been instrumental in introducing policies that are family-friendly into their organisations.
The report was handed over to UNESCO and International Science Council (ISC) representatives who spoke about the relevance of the report to their organisations. In their responses, both partner organisations identified that the recommendations laid out in this report have set an agenda for the advancement of gender equity in science.