International Women’s Day March 8

Invest in women: Accelerate progress

March 08, 2024

The push for gender equality in science remains crucial. Despite progress, women are still underrepresented, underscoring the importance of celebrating International Women's Day and the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics contributes to this effort by publishing fascinating interviews with successful women working in our labs and facilities. Role models play an essential role in inspiring the next generation of female scientists. Get inspired by the stories of our staff, which serve as a testament for girls and young females to keep going because no obstacle is insurmountable.

Achieving gender equality and women’s well-being in all aspects of life is more crucial than ever if we want to create prosperous economies and a healthy planet. This is why we celebrate the International Women's Day on March 8.

In science, there has been significant progress in closing the gender gap in STEM fields. Research institutions such as Max Planck have implemented strategies aimed at encouraging the participation of women and girls in science. However, gender gap has persisted throughout the years and women are still under-represented at all levels of STEM disciplines all over the world.

We believe that role models are pivotal in inspiring the next generation of female scientists. The stories of contemporary women leading their fields act as potent motivators for young girls. To highlight exemplary role models and successful women in science, we published interviews with female staff from the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11) to the International Women’s Day (March 8).

“We are convinced these stories will inspire more girls and young women to pursue careers in science. If you read these seven interviews about seven careers, you'll find that these women are bursting with enthusiasm for science. Their examples leading to one conclusion: women and girls who are passionate about science should boldly pursue their interests and let no one stop them,” says Asifa Akhtar, the first female Vice President in the Biological-Medical Section of the Max Planck Society and Max Planck Director in Freiburg.

“Women in science attract more women in science”

»I've always tried to create an atmosphere in the lab where teamwork and team spirit can flourish. People should help each other to create a kind of find a win-win situation for everyone.« [more]
»Seek out environments that offer mutual growth, ensuring that while you contribute, you're also receiving something enriching in return, avoiding the trap of an extended stay without advancement.« [more]
»For me, a good lab is where everyone is respected regardless of their experience or position. If you are just starting, I think it’s also important to join a lab where there are people who can train you and mentor you.« [more]
»… there are phases where you go through ups and downs. Those moments when experiments fail and everything seems to come to a halt are tough. However, overcoming these challenges builds resilience and courage for future endeavors: go with your gut feeling, trust yourself, and then: just take the leap.« [more]
»Young girls should follow their curiosity and intuition. If they like interacting with computers, have an analytic kind of mind and are fascinated by biological questions and want to push the limits of knowledge further, they should go for it. Everything else can be learned along the way.« [more]
»…this particular moment, when I realize it, I'm probably the only person in the world who knows this answer or who's actually seeing it or who's showing it for the first time. This is an amazing feeling.« [more]
»I greatly value is the emphasis on critical thinking within the scientific community. This insistence on critical analysis not only advances our understanding but also ensures a robust exploration of biological systems.« [more]

International Women’s Day

Since 1911, women have been celebrating International Women's Day, which draws attention to women's rights and gender equality worldwide. The day is intended to celebrate the achievements of the women's rights movement to date and at the same time draw attention to the discrimination and inequalities that still exist. It also aims to encourage people to stand up for gender equality.

Equal opportunity work at the MPI-IE
The MPI-IE supports all employees irrespective of their gender, nationality, religion, disabilities, age, cultural background or sexual identity – with a strong focus on fostering young and female scientists. more

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