As women make only 29% of researcher scientists in Northern America and Europe, and are still struggling to get access to leading academic positions,  the topic of women in Science, Health and Innovation is very relevant as much in Europe as in North America.

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, March 8th , the event “Women in Science, Health and Innovation : Leadership to the Future” took place in Vancouver, organized by 6 Consulates General : France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US, and by the chair of Neuroethics from UBC. It was the first event where all these countries worked together, and united female scientists to talk about their careers as women in medical sciences and exchange ideas to promote gender equality.

After welcoming remarks by Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor for Canada, by Honorable Janet Austen, Lieutenant-Governor General of BC, and by Pres. Santa Ono and Dr. Judy Illes, as moderators of the talk, the international guests started their speeches.

Corinne Alberti, director of the Public Health Institute of INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medecal Research), invited by the Consulate General of France, explained what the historical barriers have been to medical careers for women and how they have been addressed. The German Consulate invited Dr. Christiane Woopen, medical professor at the University of Cologne. She presented the greatest changes in Europe and over time for women in health, science and innovation.

This conference was the public part of a multi-days cycle of events about women in science. The following morning, a private working-session was held to get into further discussion and work on options to enforce better access for women to scientific careers in STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics).

This was a great opportunity not only to bring together researchers and scientists, but also to build a partnership between Consulates and to gain insight into the current situation in Europe and Northern America.

This post has been written by the two interns of the Consulate General of Germany and the Consulate General of France. Check the German version on the Consulate General of Germany website.