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Seminar Series on Equal Opportunities

Dandelion Physicists - 15 years later

by Karin Schoenning (Dept. of physics and astronomy, Uppsala university)



When I was a physics PhD student in Uppsala, my colleague and I decided to make a thorough investigation of the physics PhD situation from a gender perspective. From our questionnaire, containing 97 questions about recruitment, work environment and future plans, we identified several areas where the experiences of female and male PhD students differ significantly and we suggested a list of measures that could be taken in order to improve gender balance and diversity. Our conclusions were presented in the report “Maskrosfysiker” (Dandelion physicists) that we wrote as a handbook for gender equality in academia. The report is available (in Swedish) here, and as a printed book.
Fifteen years later, a lot has changed. Some measures have been taken and resulted in more equal conditions, while many areas still have room for improvement. In this seminar, I will summarize the most important conclusions from Maskrosfysiker and discuss its relevance of today. I will also present an example of good practice: the international summer school “Diversity in the Cultures of Physics” that I have been organizing 2017-2019 and that gave me a chance to implement what I have learned on my own journey as a woman in physics.