The role of women in science was discussed for the third time at a forum initiated by the French Institute in Budapest, in collaboration with the Women in Science Association (NaTE). At the conference held on March 27, 2023, Hungarian and French female researchers from different scientific fields, including ELKH staff, shared their experiences and best practices.
The event, which garnered significant attention, presented a comprehensive overview on the challenges confronted by women who pursue a career in science today and the reasons why opting for this fascinating path is still worthwhile.
The "Women in Science" conference was opened by Claire Legras, the French Ambassador to Hungary, followed by Katalin Balázsi, the President of NaTE and Head of the Thin Film Physics Laboratory at the ELKH Centre for Energy Research, who welcomed the participants. In her opening speech, the President emphasized that although the number and proportion of female researchers with scientific degrees is increasing in Hungary, it is still not up to the desired level. During the day-long conference, the audience had the opportunity to listen to inspiring presentations by seven female researchers, including Ágnes Kóspál from the ELKH Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences.
As part of the program, roundtable discussions were held where the audience could learn about the benefits of mixed research groups, the significance of early mentorship, and gain insights into the realities faced by female researchers when starting a family. As a positive example in this regard, it was mentioned that ELKH research sites have opened part-time employment opportunities in the past three years, which greatly helps female researchers to pursue their career while raising a family. Hungarian and French female researchers agreed that it is important to ensure that women's family roles do not create a disadvantage for their professional advancement.